Taylor O’Neill happened upon a terrifying scene on his way to work on Monday, and his actions led to the liberation of a woman who had been kidnapped and nearly raped by suspect Jorge Alejandro Cruz De Armas, 27.
O’Neill was heading to work around 4:30 p.m. on Monday when he drove down an alley in Santa Ana, he told FOX11 LA. He found his path blocked by a pickup truck, and tried to get the truck to move by honking his horn. When that didn’t elicit a response, he exited his vehicle to confront the driver, but got more than he expected.
“When I tapped on the window [a woman] looked up and I could see the duct tape on her face and the fear in her eyes,” O’Neill told the news outlet.
“I saw him on top of her, her struggling,” O’Neill told NBC Los Angeles. “You could tell nothing consensual was going on in that car.”
O’Neil said, “That’s when I tried to open the door and banged on the window to get her out of there, get her safe, and deal with him later.”
O’Neill said he tried to open the door, but it was locked, so he “banged on windows” and called police.
In a 9-1-1 recording O’Neill can be heard telling the operator, “As soon as I walked up, knocked on the window, she had her mouth duct tapped and he was on he was on top of her in the passenger seat.”
O’Neill’s interruption gave the woman a chance to escape, and she exited as De Armas drove off.
But O’Neill’s quick thinking saved the day again, as he thought to snap a photograph of the departing vehicle’s license plate.
“I had my phone in my left hand and I was able to open up my camera and take photos of his license plate as he drove off and I immediately called 911,” O’Neill recalled.
Meanwhile, the woman stayed with O’Neill for safety.
“I’m not going anywhere; don’t worry, ok,” O’Neill can be heard saying to the woman during the 911 call.
According to reports, De Armas had offered his 28-year-old alleged victim a ride to a Wells Fargo bank. Instead of proceeding to the bank, De Armas allegedly pulled into the alley and tried to engage her in sexual intercourse. When she refused, he began choking the woman, then duct-taped her mouth, the police report.
Luckily, O’Neill inadvertently interrupted the alleged assault.
Police were later able to arrest De Armas by tracking the plate number O’Neill captured, and they found duct tape still in the truck, according to police.
De Armas was arrested on charges that include assault with intent to commit rape. Authorities think he may have additional victims out there. No information was provided about his immigration status.
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