Homeless man who helped save DC officer being stabbed reunites with family

WASHINGTON (WJLA/CNN) - A homeless man in Washington, D.C., says he was just doing the right thing when he helped save a police officer who was getting attacked.

Police Chief Peter Newsham personally went to say thank you to 49-year-old John Burrows, a homeless man, who helped an officer Thursday morning. The officer was trying to get a man to stop when the suspect attacked him with a pair of scissors.

“He didn’t say anything, just turned around and stabbed the officer right under his eye,” Burrows said. “I was really mad. I wasn’t afraid. I was mad at that guy, just start stabbing a cop like that… You’re not just gonna stab them in front me like that. I’m not gonna let you.”

John Burrows, a 49-year-old who has been living on the streets of Washington, D.C., since 1999, was presented with a Metropolitan Police Department challenge coin for intervening when an officer was stabbed.
John Burrows, a 49-year-old who has been living on the streets of Washington, D.C., since 1999, was presented with a Metropolitan Police Department challenge coin for intervening when an officer was stabbed. (Source: DC Police Department/Twitter)

Burrows grabbed and punched the suspect, later identified as 61-year-old Robert Redding. Burrow and the officer managed to get Redding under control. He was arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill a police officer.

Newsham says the injured officer, a 19-year veteran of the force, "suffered some pretty serious stab wounds."

"What you did for our officer, seriously, God bless you for that. We really appreciate it. You really saved his life, and that means a lot to us," Newsham told Burrows.

After the incident, D.C. Human Services, which aids those in the city who are experiencing homelessness, put Burrows up in a hotel and started a GoFundMe page for him that has raised more than $17,500.

The publicity caught the attention of Burrows’ family in Prince William County, Virginia, who hadn’t seen him for years. His niece visited the hotel and brought a cake for her uncle with the words “Little Hero” written in icing.

“Eight years – I always ask about him. I call my grandma and my mom and say, ‘Have you heard from Uncle John?’ Because every time he came around he was funny, humble,” Burrows’ niece said.

On Friday, Burrows is set to visit his mom, who has cancer, and his brother.

"Probably the best thing that's happened out of it, really. I get my family back," Burrows said.

Burrow says he has been living on the streets of D.C. since 1999.

Copyright 2020 WJLA, GoFundMe via CNN. All rights reserved.