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Bloomington Man Called Hero In Deputy Struggle

Last updated on Saturday, March 31, 2012

(BLOOMINGTON) - The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department is crediting a Bloomington man for saving a deputy’s life.

Joe Archer was mowing his lawn near the corner of 7th and Adams streets on Thursday, just feet from where sheriff's Deputy Beverly McKnight was struggling with suspect Brandon Helms, 27, en route to the Monroe County Jail.

Detectives said Helms somehow got his handcuffs in front of his body while in a seat belt in the back of McKnight's SUV. He was able to get his arms around McKnight's neck, then went for her gun.

The gun went off, narrowly missing Deputy McKnight's leg.

Archer said he heard McKnight scream and rushed to help.

"I opened the door and jumped on (Helm's) back. I put him in a headlock and pried him off (McKnight)," Archer said.

Archer tore a ligament in his hand during the violent struggle and said he heard Helms tell the deputy she 'Wouldn't get out of the car alive.'

Archer said he reacted, not even knowing if Helms was armed.

"A hero for the day, I guess for now. I'm just happy I didn't get my tail shot off," he said.

Archer said McKnight, her husband and their three children personally thanked him for his brave actions.

Monroe County Sheriff's Department officials also commended Archer and said they expect he'll be formally recognized by the sheriff.

Helms is being held without bond on preliminary charges of attempted murder.

Deputy McKnight is recovering from injuries to her neck and body.

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