- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 7, 2004

Montgomery County police are calling a man a Good Samaritan for helping to stop an assault on a woman Saturday night.

Police said a father bicycling with his 12-year-old son in the 700 block of Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville on Saturday saw a woman being dragged into nearby woods by two men at about 5:45 p.m.

The man, who declined to be identified, pedaled about half a mile to a Montgomery County recreation center where a children’s basketball game was being held.

The man told the gym director to get help.

The gym director knew that two off-duty officers, Lt. Russ Hamill and 4th District Officer Daniel Sugrue, were watching their sons play in the game.

When the director told the officers that a woman was in trouble, they left the game, which was in overtime, and set out to investigate.

“[The man] did exactly what we ask of citizens,” said Lucille Baur, a county police spokeswoman. “We would not have wanted this father to put himself or his son into danger.”

The officers drove to the path, then ran along the trail until Lt. Hamill saw two men sexually assaulting a woman in the woods. The 24-year-old victim was unconscious, police said.

“Fortunately, [the officers] had their guns with them,” Miss Baur said.

The officers captured the two men and called for backup and an ambulance. The victim was treated at a local hospital, where she regained consciousness.

Police later learned that one of the suspects is the victim’s boyfriend, a 19-year-old Germantown man. He was arrested but not charged at the victim’s request.

The other suspect, Joseph Michael Burgess, 18, of Rockville, was not known to the victim. He was charged with one count of second-degree sex offense.

“We want to give credit to the Good Samaritan,” Miss Baur said adding that there were in-line skaters and joggers using the path but none were aware enough of their surroundings to notice a victim in need.

“This is all we ask of our citizens: that they be aware of their surroundings,” Miss Baur said.

She also had high praise for the off-duty officers, who “without hesitating” sprang into action when they heard about the incident.

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