Six Citizens Honored for Their Courage in Three Long Beach Criminal Cases

This week, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey presented six citizens, each of whom helped criminal investigations and prosecution for Long Beach-based cases, with awards recognizing their courage.

The Courageous Citizen Awards are honors spread across L.A. County throughout the year, honoring individuals “who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecution, aiding victims, preventing crime and capturing suspects.”

Of the six citizens honored at a Wednesday afternoon luncheon aboard the Queen Mary, two of them–Scott Beaubien and Jonathan Campos–are residents of Long Beach. The other honorees included Mariano Bejarano of Los Angeles; Jason Curiel of Huntington Park; Muhammad Johnson of Torrance; and Marcelo Vera of Montclair.

Johnson was honored for his courageous disarming of a knife-wielding woman outside of his old Long Beach apartment on October 29, 2011. The woman was repeatedly stabbing her sister and was later committed to a mental health institution.

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Vera, Curiel and Campos were recognized for chasing down and eventually detaining two thieves who had robbed a woman of her gold chain while she was tending to a baby. When the two suspects fled in different directions, the mini-brigade of citizen defenders split themselves. Vera and Curiel hopped into their vehicle to pursue one while Campos got on foot, chasing the other and obtaining the necklace.

Beaubien and Bejarano were honored for also detaining a would-be robber. In the middle of a grocery store parking lot, the 58-year-old victim–recovering from breast cancer surgery–suddenly had a suspect attempt to grab her purse. Unyielding, the victim held tightly onto her bag as the suspect dragged her several yards before she finally let go of her belongings. Beaubien and Bejarana, both Salvation Army truck drivers, saw the man running and pursued him, eventually reaching him and holding the suspect until police arrived.

“Each of these Courageous Citizens cast aside fear and risked their personal welfare to help victims of crime,” Lacey said in a statement. “I extend my personal gratitude to this group of remarkable people for these acts of selflessness and bravery.”

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.