It was early in the morning on January 12, 2017 when Arizona state trooper Ed Andersson responded to calls a man was shooting a gun at cars on a highway near Tonopah, Arizona.
After arriving and exiting his vehicle, Andersson was immediately hit with a freak shot in his right shoulder — a little to the left the bullet would have struck his bullet proof vest and an inch and a half to the right, it would have missed him completely.
But it didn’t.
Instead the bullet partially paralyzed Andersson’s right shoulder making him unable to draw his gun.
Fortunately, Leonard Penuelas-Escobar, 37, the man who allegedly fired at Andersson had run out of bullets. Penuelas-Escobar attacked the officer trying to grab his gun, but Andersson fought off the attempt with his good left hand.
Penuelas-Escobar pushed Andersson to the ground, got on top of him and repeatedly smashed his fists into the officer’s head. When Andersson tried to resist, Penuelas-Escobar started slamming the trooper’s head into the ground.
Minutes after the shooting took place, Thomas Yoxall, 43, arrived at the scene. At first he thought it was a police stop until he saw the brutal fight on the ground.
Yoxall got out of his car and yelled at the Penuelas-Escobar to stop, but he ignored him.
Yoxall told CNN, “The look in his eye [was] evil if I had to put a word on it.”
When the man continued beating the officer, Yoxall took his registered gun and shot the Penuelas-Escobar killing him.
Andersson said there was no doubt in his mind he would be dead if Yoxall had not shown up when he did.
Yoxall responded telling CNN:
“God chose to put me in that place at that particular moment. I just can’t see an evil like that being perpetuated, without intervening.”
But saving a police man’s life marked a major turn around for Yoxall. In 2000, police charged Yoxall with theft, but he experienced a remarkable transformation after accepting Christ shortly after this.
A few years later, Yoxall, an avid hunter, was able to have the charge reduced and after petitioning a judge, Yoxall received permission to use a gun.
Though he believed God had placed him there to save the trooper’s life, Yoxall still struggled with the thought of taking another person’s life. He became depressed and even contemplated suicide, but was finally able to pull out of it after counseling from his pastor.
When John the Baptist showed up in Judea preparing the ground for Christ’s ministry, he preached a message of repentance.
John told the Jews if they repented in their heart they would show fruit worthy of their repentance.
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, (Matthew 3:8 New King James)
The Greek word translated worthy is ‘axios’ and means to be of equivalent measure or weight. The word is often translated corresponding, equal, or fitting.
In Luke 10:7, ‘axios’ is used to describe a laborer who deserves or is worthy of his wages. He exchanged work for an equivalent amount of money.
Essentially, John was saying if they were truly repentant, it would show up in equal measure through their actions.
As with many criminals, Yoxall would have had an instinctive distrust, even hatred of police and he moved from that to saving a police officer’s life — an action ‘worthy’ of repentance.