War veteran tackles man running from police in southeast Cedar Rapids

Police: Assist was helpful, but not always advisable

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A Cedar Rapids resident on a late-night iced tea run for his pregnant fiancée helped end a chase between a man and Cedar Rapids police last weekend by tackling the man to the ground.

Officers were in the area of First Avenue NE and 17th Street SE around 11 p.m. Saturday night when they saw a man run across First Avenue wearing a short-sleeve shirt, pajama bottoms and tennis shoes. Concerned for his safety because it was about 20 degrees outside, they tried to stop the man, but the man kept running when they yelled at him to stop.

Martin Ennor, 27, was about a block away, on his way to a convenience store to pick up iced tea for his 8-months pregnant fiancée, when he said he saw police chasing a man and yelling “stop.” Ennor said he got out of his car, tackled the man and held him down until the police caught up.

Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said Ennor was in the right place at the right time.

“The officers were chasing him and hadn’t lost sight of him or anything, but this guy (Ennor) was closer,” Hamblin said.

Hamblin said citizens don’t often assist with arrests.

“We don’t encourage people to do this, because we don’t know what the outcome will be, or what the individual may have. It’s a judgment call,” Hamblin said. "It’s always appreciated, but not always advisable."

Hamblin said it is helpful when citizens can be a good witness, like following a possible drunk driver and calling authorities.

Ennor, a war veteran who plans to apply to the Cedar Rapids Police Department in February, had a handgun with him but said he did not feel the need to draw it because he didn’t see the man as a threat. He said he acted on his instincts.

“I truly believe in my heart that the way things are going to change is when people step up,” Ennor said. “They need to take charge in their community.”

“I’m not saying go out and be a vigilante and do what I did, but talk to them (authorities) and be a good witness, things like that,” Ennor said. “I’m tired of people not cooperating with police and then turning away saying there is a crime problem in this part of town.”

Ennor spent nine years in the 1-133rd Infantry Battalion and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In June 2011, he was injured by an IED blast in Afghanistan and is still recovering. He currently teaches firearm classes at Midwest Shooting Supply.

Authorities said the man who had been running from police had a "medical issue" and was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital for an evaluation. No one was injured.

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