TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two men who grew up around bulls never expected they would be in a life-saving situation in Cochise County.
Miguel Gamez speaks fondly of his neighbor, but he said the bull always worried him. One day he knew the worst had happened by the sound of it.
"I knew what was happening," he said. "Something was wrong, so I ran back in to tell my daughter to call 911."
In the hectic haze of the situation, the Gamez family couldn't remember their neighbor's address. They provided their own and Miguel's daughter waited by the road to direct first responders the right way around all the gates.
Trooper Brandon Jacquez was on his way home when he responded to the call for help. At that point, Gamez had already entered the pen with his neighbor and the bull. Whipping the creature, Gamez avoided a charge from the bull. He and Jacquez had to make a plan quickly.
"Much more time and it would've been fatal," said the state trooper.
Both men describe the situation similarly. The large livestock continued to pummel the elderly man. Gamez whipped the bull to lure it far enough from his neighbor so Jacquez would have a clear shot. With a clearing behind the bull, the state trooper fired his service weapon for the first time on duty in more than a decade.
Jacquez, who has worked on cattle ranches since he was a child, said he's never been in a situation like that. Once the bull charged Gamez then returned to trampling the neighbor, Jacquez said it was clear that lethal force would be the only way to stop it. His fellow troopers checked on him when it was all over.
Gamez said it started to sink in when he returned home to his family. He couldn’t help but worry about the nice man who’s lived beside him for years. His wife wrote a letter to the Arizona Department of Public Safety praising the efforts of Jacquez. The state trooper said he was humbled and appreciative of the recognition.
"I grew up in this area," he said. "I care about the people in this area."
There are no commendation letters for Gamez, but he doesn’t mind. The frantic few minutes happened on Jan. 3, 2020. More than a month later, Gamez said he still thinks about it and wonders what more he could’ve done.
"You do what you can," he said. "Whether I know him or not, I'm in there no matter what."
The elderly neighbor always shared stories of ranching and other adventures, according to Gamez. Now he hopes to hear this story from the neighbor’s perspective when he’s done recovering from the attack.