PORTAGE — A mixed martial arts fighter on his way to visit his mother stopped to subdue a wanted man who was attacking a Porter County Sheriff’s Office patrolman, police said.
Not only did Valparaiso resident William Cassoday not hesitate to stop by to help patrolman Jamison Smith, but he came armed with experience as a mixed martial arts fighter and a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. Brazilian.
“Things like that don’t bother me,” Cassoday, 39, humbly said of the incident on Monday afternoon.
Cassoday said he was driving with his wife to Portage to see his mother shortly after 4 p.m. Monday when he noticed a Porter County police officer had stopped along Swanson Road talking to another man.
“As I was passing I see the guy swinging at the cop,” Cassoday said.
Cassoday said he stopped and ran towards the scene, making sure he was wide to the side so as not to startle the officer, who already had his hands full.
As the man who attacked the officer – later identified as Christopher Delgado, 37, of Valparaiso – repositioned himself to confront two people, Cassoday said he turned Delgado’s body and from behind , had placed him in what is called a “naked rear choke”. The martial arts move involves placing one arm around the other’s neck from behind, then using the other arm to tighten the grip.
“He just got soft for a while,” Cassoday said.
Cassoday said he held on long enough to help take Delgado to the ground and for Smith to handcuff him. He guessed that his whole answer hadn’t lasted more than about 15 seconds.
Smith reported he was traveling south on Swanson Road around 4:17 p.m. Monday when he saw Delgado, whom he knew was wanted on a local auto theft warrant.
While wearing a tactical vest with the word “sheriff” written in yellow on the front and back, the officer said he approached Delgado, who was pretending to be someone other.
When the officer told Delgado he couldn’t leave, Delgado allegedly clenched his fists, challenged the officer and started punching when the officer tried to stop him, according to the report. incident. Delgado backed up, challenged the officer again, and reportedly threw more punches at the officer’s head.
Cassoday stepped in as the fight was underway.
Smith said he suffered swelling above his right eyebrow from a punch from Delgado.
Delgado was taken into custody and faces one count of assaulting a law enforcement officer resulting in bodily harm and a misdemeanor of resisting law enforcement and false information, indicates the report.
Porter County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Benjamin McFalls said on Wednesday that the department “cannot thank Mr. William Cassoday enough for his courageous actions.”
“Putting his own safety aside, he put himself in harm’s way, helping Officer Smith arrest a criminal,” McFalls said.
“Mr. Cassoday purposely jumped into a fight, in which our officer was violently attacked,” he said.
“We are grateful to serve our community, a community that supports law and order,” McFalls said. “Mr. Cassoday exemplified what it means to be a Porter County resident. We will honor him in the near future.”
Cassoday, who works with several area police officers at the Valparaiso Family YMCA’s Choke-U martial arts school, said that while he didn’t realize it at first, he knew Smith, who is a friend of the family.
Cassoday couldn’t guess where the incident would have led if it hadn’t happened at exactly the right time. But he said, unlike a police officer, he had the advantage of not having to think about protocol when dealing with an aggressive person.