Good Samaritan helps La Crosse officer arrest two wanted for burglary
LA CROSSE, Wis. — A string of criminal activities early Sunday morning ended with a UW-La Crosse student helping a police officer arrest two men. They’re accused of breaking into a La Crosse apartment and starting a fight with the residents living there.
Police say 23-year-old Anthony Lee and 17-year-old Bret Clark, both of La Crosse, broke into the apartment on the 500 block of N. 11th Street just before 1:00 a.m. Sunday.
Three men who were home at the time eventually chased Lee and Clark outside, when a fight ensued. One of the residents was cut on the face before Lee and Clark fled.
Minutes later, La Crosse Police Officer Heath Parshall noticed Lee and Clark trying to enter another apartment near Taco Bell on West Avenue. Parshall tried to arrest the men but they took off again.
Parshall followed in pursuit and was eventually able to catch Lee. However, Parshall lost his emergency radio in the process and was unable to call for help when the suspect began to struggle with him. Lee was allegedly carrying a knife.
At that moment, Cole Amundson and two female friends were leaving nearby Topper’s Pizza on West Avenue when they heard calls for help.15569850
“I thought it was a joke at first,” said Amundson.
As they inched closer to the fence behind Taco Bell, however, they realized it was a police officer in distress.
Amundson sprinted to the other side to help Parshall subdue Lee, who allegedly punched the officer in the groin. Minutes later, Bret Clark made a surprise appearance.
“The next thing you know, (he) jumps over the fence, comes and kicks the cop in the face and starts running,” said Amundson.
Amundson says he tossed his sandals, took off and was able to tackle Clark moments later.
“I don’t know what the officer would have done if the other guy came back and Cole wasn’t there,” said Shelby Johnson, who was with Amundson at the time.
Amundson was able to wrestle Clark back to where the officer was holding Lee.
Johnson called 911 and a few minutes later other police officers arrived at the scene
Officer Parshall was treated and released from an area hospital. He will be out of work for several days as he recovers from his injuries.
Amundson, who is studying exercise science at UW-L, says he’s just happy he was in the right place at the right time.
Police are recommending Lee and Clark face several charges, including felony burglary and felony substantial battery. They are each being held in the La Crosse County Jail on $75,000 bond.
Officer Heath Parshall