WEST HOLLYWOOD—Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey awarded a West Hollywood woman and three others with the Courageous Citizens Award on Wednesday, February 12.
Sabrina O’Hara, 42, heard screaming outside her West Hollywood home on November 7, 2018. O’Hara looked outside and discovered a man who had blood all over his arm and a gash on his palm. While she was assisting the victim, the assailant was across the street and threatened to stab the man again. She told the assailant to go away as she dialed 911.
As she was making a report to police, the assailant threatened to kill her. Despite the threats, O’Hara continued to assist the victim until officials arrived to render aid. The suspect fled the scene, but was later captured by police. O’Hara was able to identify the suspect who was later arrested.
Later she testified in court and the defendant was convicted on July 17, 2019 with one count each of criminal threats and possessing a dirk or dagger. He was later sentenced to six years in state prison.
The award was also given to Maria Nunez, 27, and Selestino Penaloza, 38, of Huntington Park. The two assisted a bicyclist who fell to the ground and was threatened by an armed man in South Los Angeles. Nunez assisted the bicyclist before paramedics arrived while Penaloza tracked the assailant. The two helped officials identify the suspect and testified in court. Their testimony helped to secure a conviction. The assailant was convicted November 2019 and is serving 18 years in prison.
Brandy Mayes, 50, of Riverside was awarded alongside the other three for preventing an abduction. She was driving a limousine when she witnessed a man dragging a 19 year-old woman by the hair towards his vehicle. Mayes parked the limousine prompting the man to release the woman and fled the scene. She stayed with the victim until police arrived. She also told officials that she was willing to testify in court, but the defendant pled no contest.
The Courageous Citizens Award is presented to individuals who have acted with courage and at a considerable risk to help a victim of a crime, assist in the capture of a suspect or testify in the face of extraordinary measures. According to the LADA Office’s website, the award was first presented in 1986 in the hope that this kind of public recognition inspires others to do the right thing.