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3 San Gabriel Valley Residents Honored with 'Courageous Citizen Awards'

Three San Gabriel Valley residents, including a Pasadena man who found a missing 3-year-old boy, were honored Wednesday with "Courageous Citizen Awards" by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Those lauded at a Pasadena Rotary Club meeting this afternoon were:

  • Rowdy Metzger, 43, who found a toddler in a soiled diaper strapped in a car seat in a parking garage in Pasadena after the boy had been left alone for hours in October 2010. The boy's father -- who was arrested for public intoxication after leaving the youngster in the car -- ultimately pleaded no contest to one felony count of child abuse and one misdemeanor count each of resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer, battery upon an officer and public intoxication.
  • Gabriela Ruiz, 30, of Pasadena, who pulled a shooting victim from an alley in August 2004 and called 911, despite being threatened by the gunman not to call police.
  • Mitchell Maertens, 30, of Arcadia, who rushed to the aid of two women who had been stabbed. He got on top of the assailant, managed to grab the knife and throw it away and held the man down until police arrived, authorities said.

"I extend my personal gratitude to these heroic bystanders who made the difficult decision to get involved, setting their personal welfare aside, to help victims of crime," the district attorney said.

Lacey added that the defendants in these cases most likely would have gone free without the courage of the citizens.

"These particular acts deserve more recognition than just a subpoena and thank you, which is what we give the average witness," Lacey said.

She said she was struck by the power of the stories.

"You can't even hear anybody pick up a fork because you relive it with them," Lacey said.

Maertens said he took action because the women needed help.

"I did it because if it was me in that position, I would want somebody to do that for me or try to help me," Maertens said.

—City News Service

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