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D.A. honors three Good Samaritans for courageous acts

May 5, 2010 |  7:01 pm

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley honored two Good Samaritans on Wednesday for intervening during a 2007 assault on a woman in front of the Pasadena police station and a young boy for assisting authorities in a separate gang murder case. 

Quoleshna Elbert, 31, and Larry Harnisch, 58, a Los Angeles Times copy editor, were given Courageous Citizen Awards during a ceremony at the Pasadena Hilton. The award honors those who act at "considerable personal risk to help a victim, capture a suspect or who have testified in court."  Larry Harnisch, L.A. Times

A 12-year-old boy, whose identity was withheld for his protection, was honored for testimony that helped convict a suspect in a gang murder case. The defendant was sentenced to 99 years in prison. 

Elbert was on her way to church when she saw a woman being beaten by her ex-husband as her children looked on from the father's car. She tried to stop the attack by hitting him with her purse and a Bible.

Harnisch was driving to church when he saw the attack, stopped his car and intervened, putting himself between the attacker and the victim, who had been beaten unconscious. The woman survived but suffered permanent injuries.

The actions of the pair -- and their court testimony -- helped prosecutors convict the man of attempted voluntary manslaughter, aggravated mayhem and torture. He was sentenced to six years to life in prison.

Harnisch has worked at The Times since 1988. He is a copy editor and also writes and edits The Daily Mirror blog, which chronicles Los Angeles history.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Larry Harnisch at his desk. Credit: Los Angeles Times