Bremerton police officer thanks good samaritan who saved him from violent attack
BREMERTON, Wash. - Two men are being called "good samaritans" after helping a Police Officer, who was being violently attacked by a suspect outside a store in east Bremerton.
"I went up there to contact him and he was not listening to my verbal commands and not compliant," said Ofc. Spencer Berntsen.
Berntsen responded to the shopping plaza on Wednesday morning after someone called 911 to report a man who smashed a window at a Jack in the Box restaurant.
Berntsen said the man, who was later identified as Kenneth Lane, was agitated and became aggressive.
"He got on the ground, then got up and that's when I tried to deploy the Taser," said Berntsen. "He literally blew cigarette smoke in my face and said, 'Let's go.'"
Berntsen said the Taser malfunctioned and that's when Lane attacked him.
During the struggle, two people jumped in to help the officer.
"What I saw was somebody who was just viciously attacking somebody," said Kelly Bounds, who was seen on camera punching the suspect as he tried to stop the threat. Bounds said he only did what he thought was right.
"It's about helping others in a time of need, whether it's opening a door for somebody or pushing that wheelchair across the street," said Bounds. "If we can help each other, it's the most important thing that life can give is helping one another."
It's s an act of kindness that Officer Berntsen isn't taking lightly.
"I'm very fortunate that I'm OK and that I got to go home that day," said Berntsen.
On Friday, Berntsen reunited with Bounds and said "Thank You" to him.
"This could have gone in a very different direction," said Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan.
Strachan said every day officers are faced with situations like this, whether its someone struggling with mental illness and/or a violent criminal.
"This is a dangerous job at the end of the day and people say, 'Well, why are officers so touchy? Why are officers so extremely careful when they encounter somebody?' This is why - because there are people who are willing to violently attack a police officer," Strachan said.
Ofc. Berntsen suffered some cuts and is still in pain but he's back on the job.
"I'm very thankful to work in a city and town where I get this much support," said Berntsen.
Lane will be arraigned in Kitsap County Superior Court on December 1st at 9:00 a.m. He's facing an assault charge and is being held at the Kitsap County jail on a $100,000 bond.