Two Ronald Reagan Sailors Help Stop Hatchet Attack in San Diego Suburb

Story Number: NNS060824-04Release Date: 8/24/2006 3:42:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cara Maib, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (NNS) -- The Chula Vista Police Department is applauding the efforts of two Sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) after the pair helped stop a domestic violence attack and apprehend a suspect who left three victims hospitalized from hatchet wounds Aug. 19 in a San Diego suburb.

According to police reports, Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman (AW) Deon Millan, assigned to Ronald Reagan's Air Department, and Gunner's Mate 3rd Class (AW) Dejion Rivers, from Ronald Reagan's Weapons Department, helped stopped the attack between a man, his girlfriend and several members of the woman's family.

"I was just doing my job," said Millan. "I'm military so if I see somebody in need, whatever it is, I'm going to help."

Millan and Rivers said they witnessed the attack as they were driving through a Chula Vista neighborhood early Saturday morning on the way to jump-start a friend's car. Hearing screams and seeing a struggle, both Sailors said they jumped out of the car to offer assistance.

According to Millan, he intervened in the struggle between the suspect and a man, later identified as the woman's father, as Rivers attempted to dial '911' on his cellular telephone. After breaking up the struggle between two men and a verbal altercation, the two Sailors attempted to keep the suspect at the scene until the police arrived.

According to police reports, the two Sailors attempted to close an iron gate in order to keep the suspect from fleeing in his car. However, the suspect drove through the gate knocking it off its hinges and almost injuring the two Sailors. The Sailors were able to get the license plate number and a description of the vehicle as the suspect fled the scene.

"You don't expect things like this to happen to you," said Rivers. "We did the best we could in this situation."

After the suspect fled the scene, both Millan and Rivers said they tended to the hatchet wounds on the multiple victims using first aid training learned while studying for their Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) qualification.

According to Chula Vista police, the license plate number and a description of the vehicle allowed them to stop the suspect only a block away from the scene of the incident.

"I remembered the license plate number because I'm an 'ABE'," said Millan, noting that the plate number had those letters [A, B and E] as part of it.

According to the Chula Vista police officer who arrived first at the scene, both Millan and Rivers should be commended for the way they responded to the dangerous situation.

"The fact that they confronted the suspect while he was doing the assault and diverted him from his assault probably helped save the victims from further injury, and maybe even death," said Sgt. John McAvenia of the Chula Vista Police Department.

"My biggest worry when we get to a scene like that is that our witnesses rarely want to be involved and generally want to get out of there," said McAvenia. Your [Ronald Reagan] Sailors impressed me as wanting to stay and help."

"They were professional about the way they helped out and about wanting to stay and make sure we got their information, and for guys that nearly got run down by a person that went kind of 'berserk,' they were holding up real well," said McAvenia.

According to McAvenia, both Ronald Reagan Sailors will be recognized at a later date by the Chula Vista Police Department for their unselfish acts of bravery and courage.

Commissioned in 2003, Ronald Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier and returned to San Diego July 6 from its maiden deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and maritime security operations.

For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at

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