District Attorney Jackie Lacey Presents Courageous Citizen Awards at Pasadena Rotary Event

Published : Wednesday, April 6, 2016 | 5:01 PM

Front row, left to right: Honorees Eddie Harris, Richard Mason Jr., and Scott Angel Aquinio. Back row, left to right: Honoree Luz Maria Torres, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and Honoree Rochelle Floyd. Photo credit: Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey today honored two women and three men who bravely took action to stop crimes in the communities of Alhambra, Newhall and Sylmar.

Pasadena Rotarian George Falardeau, guest Carmen Choy Surdan, District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Rotarian Wendy Anderson after the event

“The people we honor today showed great compassion. They took bold steps to help others whose lives were in danger,” District Attorney Lacey said. “Because of their bravery, crime victims were spared additional trauma and the criminals in these cases have been punished.”

During today’s ceremony in Pasadena, District Attorney Lacey recognized a nurse who saved a colleague from a violent attack at Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar; three men who stopped an attempted sexual assault in Alhambra; and a woman whose quick thinking prevented the kidnapping and likely sexual assault of a teenage girl in Newhall.

The District Attorney’s Office presents these awards three times a year to recognize ordinary people who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in the prosecution of criminals, saving victims, preventing crimes or even capturing suspects.

The honorees are:

Rochelle Floyd, 52, of Chino Hills (Case no. PA080406)

A man who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia went to Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar on Easter Sunday 2014 and made several attempts to persuade someone to shoot and kill him. He called 911 and reported he had a gun and planned to shoot people. Police confronted him and learned he had a knife. The man entered the hospital, grabbed a 61-year-old nurse and stabbed her multiple times. Ms. Floyd, a supervising nurse, sounded emergency alarms and found the assailant on top of the woman. Ms. Floyd saved her colleague by grabbing the hood of the man’s jacket and dragging him off the nurse. Officers subdued him. The defendant pleaded no contest to attempted murder and was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison.

Scott Angel Aquino, 26, of Beaumont; Richard Mason Jr., 26, of Ontario; and Eddie Harris of Alhambra (Case no. GA095830)

On March 3, 2015, an Alhambra woman was walking to her residence when she was approached by a man. He questioned her about the time, who she lived with and other things. She tried to get him to leave her alone, but he grabbed her and spun her to the ground. She struggled with the man. Mr. Aquino, Mr. Mason and Mr. Harris heard the woman’s screams and responded. They found her being attacked, grabbed the man, engaged in a brief struggle, subdued him and saved the woman. The men detained the assailant until police arrived. The defendant pleaded no contest to felony assault with intent to commit a sex crime. He was sentenced to six years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.

Luz Maria Torres, 51, of Ontario (Case no. PA082484)

Ms. Torres was driving on Sierra Highway in Newhall on Nov. 12, 2014, and saw a man talking to a 13-year-old girl. Ms. Torres sensed that the girl did not want to be with the man. Ms. Torres saw the defendant grab the child by the arm and pull her toward him. Ms. Torres honked her horn to get the man to stop. The victim pulled her arm away, and Ms. Torres told the girl to run away. Ms. Torres called 911 and followed the man until deputies arrived and took him into custody. The defendant pleaded no contest to a count of attempted kidnapping to commit rape. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

About the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey leads the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation. Her staff of nearly 1,000 attorneys, 300 investigators and 800 support staff members is dedicated to protecting our community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice and the safeguarding of crime victims’ rights.



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