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Quick-Thinking Off-Duty Officers Help Thwart Vehicle Attack at Rose Parade

Pasadena woman arrested after allegedly attempting to ram car into a group of spectators from behind

Published on Monday, January 1, 2024 | 11:47 am

[Updated]  A 21-year-old Pasadena woman was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after she allegedly attempted to drive her car into a group of spectators during Monday’s Rose Parade.

The incident was reportedly thwarted by two off-duty law enforcement officers and a heavy steel barrier designed by a Pasadena company, Meridian.

The woman, identified by police as Nicole Kennnedy, allegedly tried to ram the unsuspecting spectators who were watching the parade with their backs toward her near the intersection of Colorado Blvd. and Chester Ave. at about 9 a.m.

The car struck a steel barrier specifically designed to stop vehicle attacks.

Two off-duty officers who witnessed the attempted attack promptly intervened and arrested the woman, City and police officials confirmed.

The Merdian barriers “probably saved lives,” Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian said. “The barriers did their job.”

Pasadena Police Lt. Monica Cuellar said the woman was suffering from a mental health issue.

City officials said the off-duty officers were not Pasadena police but did not identify the agency they work for.

According to Pasadena Police Lt. Edgar Sanchez, the incident began when Kennedy drove north on Chester Avenue. At the intersection with Green Street, she was stopped by two security guards, a man and a woman, who told her that she could not continue northbound toward Colorado Boulevard.

Ignoring their instructions, Kennedy made an obscene gesture towards the security guards and drove forward, nearly hitting the female security guard, a 20-year-old from San Bernardino, Sanchez said.

Kennedy then allegedly accelerated to approximately 20 miles per hour and struck the Meridian barricades located on Chester Avenue just south of Colorado Boulevard, damaging her vehicle.

Witnesses reportedly saw the vehicle’s tires spinning and smoke coming from the front tires as the barricade held firm, Sanchez said.

Kennedy reversed her vehicle and rammed into the barricade a second time, causing it to cave inwards, Sanchez said.

Two off-duty police officers, parade watchers, and the male security guard intervened and detained Kennedy until the arrival of Sheriff’s deputies, who arrested Kennedy.

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

Peter Whitford, CEO of Meridian Rapid Defense Group, which designed and manufactured the barricades, arrived at the incident scene shortly after the suspect was arrested.

“As a local Pasadena company we at Meridian have been extremely proud to be guarding the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl crowds for the past six years. Incidents like this are rare but when they happen, as we’ve seen today, there’s a real possibility of serious injuries.”

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Pasadena Police at (626) 744-4241 or report information anonymously by contacting “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), via your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or by using the website .

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