On September 15 at 5:30 a.m., Josh Williams was running along a trail in Austin, Texas when he heard screaming.
Cautiously and bravely approaching the situation, Williams drew his gun and flashlight, only to see a young woman pinned to the ground by her potential rapist. The good Samaritan’s quick intervention triggered the cowardly criminal, who was half undressed, to flee, saving the unarmed woman.
Recalling the intense incident to reporter Tony Plohetski in an exclusive KVUE News/Austin American-Statesman interview, Williams explained that he always goes running with a flashlight, his gun, and two magazines on him precisely to keep safe and help others do the same, though he never expected he’d actually have to use the firearm.
“It’s dark, and I don’t know what’s out there, so I have it to protect myself and other people,” said the 39-year-old. “That’s what it’s all about anyway, to help other people with it, not just myself.”
Williams recalled his interaction with the criminal on that Friday morning: “I came up, pulled my gun and told him to get off of her,” he said. “Get on your knees and show me your hands.”
“I didn’t think I’d ever have to pull it,” he added. “Did I want to? No, but just right place, right time.”
The father of two suggested his timing on the trail as a product of “divine intervention.”
According to the victim, she was tackled from behind by the man, who has since been identified as 22-year-old Richard McEachern, as she was running along the trail. McEachern has since been arrested and charged with sexual assault.
Williams has been a licensed gun carrier for about ten years, notes KVUE news. He carries a Glock 43.
“I don’t see myself as being a hero,” he said. “But I guess I am.”
Williams still keeps in touch with the victim, who he says is doing well and “still running.”