HAMMOND — Patrick Baum knew something was wrong when he came upon what appeared to be a traffic stop, saw a man exit an SUV and go after a police officer.
Baum, 48, of Hammond, put his vehicle in park and exited, but hesitated for a moment as he wondered whether the officer wanted him to help.
Then Baum noticed the man reaching for the officer's gun.
"I was like, 'No, I gotta do something,'" he said. "It just happened so fast, it was scary."
Baum tackled the man and helped Officer Daniel Sangkaratana hold him down until other officers arrived during the incident on Parrish Avenue in the city's Hessville neighborhood.
Hammond police presented Baum with a plaque Monday for his help.
Sangkaratana was grateful for the help, department spokesman Lt. Steve Kellogg said.
"The officer said he felt justified in using deadly force if he had to," Kellogg said. "Just as those things were going through his head, Mr. Baum came and tackled him."
Baum likely saved either Sangkaratana's or the suspect's life that day, he said.
Randol Thomas Palmer Hall, 27, of Matteson, Illinois, was frothing at the mouth and appeared to be high on a drug June 1 when Sangkaratana stopped his vehicle because it matched the description of a vehicle involved in two attempted child abductions, Kellogg said.
Hall is accused of attempting to pull a 16-year-old girl into his SUV in an alley in the 2900 block of 165th Street and attempting to lure two girls into his vehicle in the 6400 block of New Hampshire Avenue.
He was charged June 2 with felony counts of disarming a law enforcement officer, attempted criminal confinement and battery against a public safety official and misdemeanor counts of resisting law enforcement and battery.
Baum, a carpenter, said he didn't know why Sangkaratana had Hall pulled over, and police didn't tell him what Hall was suspected of until later.
He has several granddaughters, so he felt pretty good to know he helped get someone suspected of child abduction off the street, he said.
He wondered if he was meant to be in that place at that time, because he usually doesn't take Parrish Avenue home.
"You know how when you get pulled over, you just sit in your car and wait for them to come to you and give them your license?" he said. "None of that was happening.
"Had a crazy look in his eye," Baum said. "I was like, 'Wow, I got to get out of the truck.'"
Baum said he was grateful police honored him, but didn't think police had any obligation to him.
"I just think any male that comes upon a scene like that should just help," he said. "You see someone with a flat tire, you should just help with that. That’s just how I feel."