Trooper says passer-by who killed attacker saved his life

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Edward Andersson, left, was shot and being attacked when Thomas Yoxall, right, came to his rescue. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Edward Andersson, left, was shot and being attacked when Thomas Yoxall, right, came to his rescue. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Thomas Yoxall was honored by Gov. Ducey for aiding a trooper who was being attacked by a suspect. (Source: Gov. Doug Ducey) Thomas Yoxall was honored by Gov. Ducey for aiding a trooper who was being attacked by a suspect. (Source: Gov. Doug Ducey)
PHOENIX (AP) -

An Arizona trooper who was shot and beaten a year ago by a Mexican man he was trying to help after a car crash said a passing driver saved his life by killing the man, according to newly released police reports.

[READ MORE: Trooper 'ambushed,' shot in Tonopah expected to be OK; suspect shot and killed by passer-by]

State Trooper Edward Andersson said he doesn't know what led to the attack. The trooper had seen Leonardo Penuelas-Escobar cradling his injured girlfriend, then set up flares to try to get drivers to slow down on a major highway. Moments later, Andersson spotted Penuelas-Escobar with a gun in his hand.

The reports say Penuelas-Escobar said something in Spanish before shooting the trooper in the shoulder and beating him in the head with a handgun, which had been stolen months earlier from a home.

An armed driver saw the beating, got out of his vehicle and fatally shot Penuelas-Escobar when he refused a command to stop attacking the trooper.

[RELATED: Motorist who aided wounded trooper recalls fear, confusion]

Andersson, a 28-year department veteran who underwent multiple surgeries for his injuries and hasn't yet returned to work, was asked during a police interview what would have been the outcome if the driver hadn't stopped the attack.

"Probably a funeral. He wasn't gonna stop," Andersson told investigators, crediting the passer-by with saving his life.

[READ MORE: Trooper who was shot, beaten on I-10 forms friendship with man who saved him]

The documents released Thursday provide the most detailed account of the attack on Jan. 12, 2017, by a former member of the Mexican federal police who was in the United States illegally, according to investigators.

Penuelas-Escobar, who was born in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, was employed in July 2007 as a police officer, but no longer held that job, the documents say. It is not clear why.

Investigators concluded Penuelas-Escobar was speeding when his car rolled over about 55 miles west of Phoenix, ejecting Vanessa Monique Lopez-Ruiz, 23. She later died.

[RELATED: Man who helped save a trooper honored by Gov. Ducey]

The driver who killed Penuelas-Escobar wasn't charged with a crime. Arizona has a law that lets someone use deadly force against a person who is threatening or injuring another person.

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