Police praise ex-con who helped save officer injured in shootout

The man found himself in the middle of a shootout between a carjacking suspect and multiple police officers. (KTRK, VIEWER CELLPHONE VIDEO, BODY CAM VIDEO, CNN)
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 1:41 AM EST
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HOUSTON (KTRK) - A Texas man with prior run-ins with the law is being hailed as a hero after he found himself in the middle of a freeway shootout and risked his life to help pull an injured officer to safety.

John Lally was driving on Houston’s Southwest Freeway around 10 a.m. Saturday when he found himself in the middle of a shootout between a carjacking suspect and multiple police officers. He saw one of the officers, identified as 29-year-old Officer J. Gibson, get shot and didn’t think twice before rushing to the rescue.

“I just kind of ran over there and grabbed that guy with the other police officer… We grabbed him by his vest and dragged him behind the truck. And I kind of tucked him underneath the truck, so he wouldn’t get shot again,” Lally said.

Lally documented the entire ordeal on video, which shows bullets flying past him as he dragged Gibson across the freeway. Lally then stayed with Gibson, trying his best to provide some comfort as they waited for paramedics to arrive.

It was a drastic turn of events for Lally, who has had multiple prior run-ins with law enforcement.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said officers were chasing a 19-year-old suspect allegedly driving a stolen car. The suspect crashed into several cars near Chimney Rock then got out of his car and began firing at police, the chief said.

Finner commended Lally for potentially saving Gibson’s life during a Saturday afternoon press conference. The officer, a five-year police veteran, was shot in the leg and is expected to fully recover.

“People make mistakes, 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,” Finner said.

He added that the department plans to formally thank and acknowledge Lally for his heroism.

Lally says despite his multiple run-ins with the law, he still respects what police officers do and wouldn’t hesitate if he had to step up again.

“I believe that we’re all here for a reason. I also believe that if you see somebody in dire need, it’s our job to help each other out,” he said.

Police say the carjacking suspect died at the hospital from injuries he sustained in the shootout.