A Houston man who said he “has been to jail a million times” became a hero when he helped pull a wounded police officer to safety during a highway shootout with a carjacking suspect.
John Lally found himself caught in the crossfire of a shootout after police chased a carjacking suspect on U.S. 59 in Houston’s West Loop on Saturday. He began shooting a video on his phone and sprang into action when Officer John Gibson was wounded.
Lally’s video, which he shared with USA TODAY on Thursday, captured how he pulled Gibson to safety even as the bullets flew.
“I got you! Come on!” Lally yelled as he helped Gibson. “You’re OK, bro!”
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Good Samaritan and former convict thought he was being pulled over
In an interview with USA TODAY on Thursday, Lally said he didn’t know there was a chase happening and thought he was being pulled over when he saw the sirens.
Then he witnessed a car crash, which he later found out was the carjacking suspect hitting other vehicles.
“When I saw the car crash happen, I thought I was going to take somebody out of one of the cars,” Lally said. “It was like an explosion because there was so much noise and vehicles involved. I thought that was going to be the extent of it.”
Lally said that he started recording the incident so that he could show his boss why he was running late.
The video shows how Lally pulled Gibson out of the chaos after the officer was shot. Gibson yells in pain as Lally repeatedly tells him he’s going to be OK.
“I’m still here with you buddy, you hear me?” “I’ve been to jail a million times, man, and I love cops, too, bro.”
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John Lally is recognized for his heroism
During a press conference the day of the shooting, Houston police Chief Troy Finner said he wanted to celebrate Lally’s heroism and that of other citizens who helped.
“People make mistakes,” he said of Lally’s past brushes with the law. “But a truly reformed individual is a person that we can use. He stepped up and other citizens stepped up, and I don’t want that to get lost.”
Lally told USA TODAY what he was thinking when he decided to help Gibson.
“As soon as I saw him get shot, I could immediately feel his pain,” he said, adding that he knew he needed to keep the wounded officer alert, having been shot in the leg himself.
Lally pointed to time spent behind bars and working in the service industry for his ability to remain calm in the situation.
“I’ve been through too many things to let (the moment) affect me,” he said.
Lally said he has since spoken with Gibson’s family but not Gibson himself, though he is open to that when the time is right.
“He’s going through a healing moment,” Lally said. “He needs to worry about that. There’s going to be plenty of time to worry about interacting at some point.”
During the press conference the night of the shooting Finner said that the department would formally recognize Lally’s heroism.
The suspect was was shot multiple times and died. Gibson is expected to make a full recovery.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Watch: Former inmate pulls Houston officer to safety during shootout