Police in Columbia, South Carolina praised a homeless hero last week who came to the aid of a female police officer being overpowered by an assailant during an arrest.

In a gas station parking lot, she was knocked to the ground several times by the much larger man who had attacked the store clerk while wielding a knife.

Cray Turmon realized that something had to be done, or someone might lose their life. He sprang into action tackling the suspect so Officer Hardesty could subdue him with handcuffs.

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“She’d done everything she could,” Turmon told Fox News. “It was going to get ugly, ya know?”

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook honored Turmon, who lives in a homeless shelter, with a certificate for his “extraordinary actions to preserve life and aid public safety.” They also brought Christmas gifts to the Transistions shelter, where he is staying.

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“Bravo Mr. Cray Turmon for your random act of kindness your gift to us when CPD officer Ashley Hardesty needed it the most,” wrote the department on their Facebook page.

(WATCH the video below)

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Photo by Columbia Police Department