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Story by: Sgt. Patricia Austin - Joint Force Headquarters, New York
Dated: Tue, Apr 22, 2014
CAMBRIA HEIGHTS, QUEENS, N.Y. -- The wife of a New York Army National Guard Soldier disarmed a knife-wielding attacker here March 18, according to police officals.
The City of New York will be giving Marisol Matias, wife of Master Sgt. Jose Matias, an award for her part in stopping the potentially deadly incident.
Marisol is also Family Readiness Group leader for Alpha Company Recruiting and Retention in New York City.
Officers charged 19-year old Romario Walker, the alleged assailant, with attempted murder, robbery and three counts of assault, New York City Police officials said. Though some of the people involved suffered stab wounds, none of their injuries were life-threatening, they added.
The incident occurred near the intersection of 226th Street and 115th Avenue at about 12:30 p.m. on March 18, according to police officials. Matias, of East Meadow, N.Y. was on her way to go file her taxes when she saw a man running and screaming for somebody to help.
"When I looked up to see why he was screaming, I saw an overturned vehicle," said Matias, who quickly got out of her car to go assist at the crash site.
After discovering that there was a woman trapped inside, Matias kicked out the windows in order to help the woman get out.
"I stuck my head inside the vehicle to help her get out," said Matias, "but when I did, I saw a young kid inside the car stabbing her."
Overwhelmed by the fact that this had now turned from a vehicle accident to also being a possible hostage situation, she calmed herself down and began to talk to Walker.
"He just kept looking at me, and repeating the word police," she said. "I tried to convince him to hand over the knife, but he wouldn’t."
Instead, Walker got out of one of the windows that Matias had broken.
"I thought he was going to stab me," Matias said, adding that two men quickly tackled Walker and tried to restrain him. "He still had his knife in his hand though, and was able to cut through those people," she said.
Shortly after freeing himself, Walker came face-to-face with a police officer who had his gun drawn and was telling him to lower his weapon.
Walker was still on the ground, and it was at this point that her instinct just kicked in, Matias said.
"I ran up behind him and kicked the knife out of his hand," Matias recalled.
It was this action that prevented any further escalation and led to Walker finally being arrested.
"We’re very proud of her," said her husband Jose, a recruiting section chief. "I think most of us would stop at an accident to help where we can, but at the spur of the moment where the situation changed, you have to react, and I think she did just that."
The city will be giving Marisol the award on April 30, Jose said.
"I did not know what I was getting myself into," Marisol said. "I was just thinking that I was helping to save somebody from a car accident."