By J. Thompson
Having lived for years in Los Angeles where televised high-speed police chases through the Inland Empire seemed more common than a day without smog—I’m not one to be easily distracted by a police pursuit broadcast by a local news chopper. But there I was at dinner with family, watching intently as a shiny white pickup truck slalomed dangerously through rush-hour traffic, blowing through intersections, and putting many commuters’ lives in danger. Not far behind, raced a platoon of unmarked and marked law enforcement vehicles in hot pursuit.
As much as we tried to focus on our meal, I suddenly realized the entire wait staff and clientele of our neighborhood’s favorite Vietnamese Pho restaurant were glued to the tube. No service, no problem. We were all riveted by the fact that, as the perp dodged through neighborhoods and highways; he was heading directly toward us. And that’s when this story takes a detour into the surreal. Not because he made it close by, but because of what happened next.
As the suspect stopped behind a motorcyclist waiting at a light, the suspect lunged from his truck and attacked the motorcyclist, in an obvious attempt to commandeer the much faster and maneuverable speed rocket to elude officers.
After the suspect – later identified by police as Joshua Monigold (age 31) – threw the motorcyclist off his own bike, the suspect probably wasn’t expecting a fight. But that’s exactly what he got.
Brandon Jenkins, an Army combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and saved up to buy his bike after his last military tour, instinctively fought back. In a melee of haymakers, he was able to fend off Monigold—something Jenkins later said in retrospect that he wouldn’t recommend especially for those without fight training.
The suspect was then forced to retreat back to his truck as police arrived on either side with weapons drawn. Monigold sped forward in the truck—running over Jenkin’s cherished motorcycle. The pursuit continued south toward Tucson and Mexcio. Here’s how it unfolded.
According to Arizona Republic and writer Christopher Silavong, the 26-year-old, Jenkins summed up his surprising circumstances during what was otherwise a normal Thursday afternoon commute home from work for him:
“I did a 12-month deployment in Afghanistan,” he said. “I was a gunner during my deployment, for most of it. Over there, you don’t have a lot of things you can just spend your money on. So when I came back, I bought my dream toys and this (bike) was one of them… I wasn’t going to let him take my motorcycle without a fight,” he said. “So I gave him that fight. End result is he didn’t get away with my motorcycle.” (The Republic |azcentral.com March 25, 2016)
Ultimately, the pursuit concluded off camera in the desert near Casa Grande on I-10, well south of the highly-populated “Valley of the Sun” after law enforcement officers executed the PIT maneuver (precision immobilization technique). Sounds technical, but in fact, the “takeout” is an illegal maneuver perfected on the stock car or NASCAR circuit in which a pursuing vehicle pushes its front bumper and tire into the rear tire of the forward vehicle, causing it to swerve and over correct. The officers in the Phoenix pursuit showed resolve and patience to not discharge their weapons or make aggressive counter-maneuvers that might otherwise have inadvertently harmed commuters, until such time as they were clear of surrounding traffic. After “pitting” the fleeing truck, which flipped, the suspect was apprehended.
Back in Phoenix, the bigger story was Jenkin’s actions to protect his beloved ride. When asked by reporters why he felt compelled to defend a motorcycle, Jenkins responded:
“It’s a sense of freedom riding a motorcycle.”
For this U.S. Army Soldier – that was yet one more freedom worth fighting for.
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