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Police call driver who struck suspect a "good Samaritan"

February 15, 2012

A man struck an armed suspect with his vehicle Wednesday morning in an apparent attempt to protect a police officer, authorities said.

Officers responded to a family disturbance call at around 11:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of Evergreen Street. They found the suspect, Thomas Gilberto of Burbank, in the 1900 block of Hollywood Way, armed with a rifle in a car, Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said.

Police officer Ruben Liscano's gun fell in the street during a struggle with Gilberto to gain control of the rifle. When Gilberto went to retrieve it, a witness stopped on Hollywood Way thought the officer’s life was in danger and used his vehicle to strike Gilberto, said Ryburn.

Another officer, Katherine McDonald, also attempted to restrain Gilberto during the struggle, he added.

Gilberto was taken to Los Angeles County Medical Center, where he remains in stable condition after sustaining serious injuries. Liscano was treated for injuries sustained during the struggle but was later released, according to Burbank police.

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Gilberto was arrested for attempted murder and is being held on $500,000 bail. He has a history of narcotics-related contacts with Burbank police and outside agencies, said Ryburn.

The driver who struck him was not identified, but Burbank police called him a "good Samaritan."

The call was apparently made because family members did not want Gilberto at the residence, Ryburn said. Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

-- Maria Hsin and Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News

Twitter: @mariahsin, @LATiffanyKelly

Photo: Burbank Police Officers investigate the scene on Hollywood Way. Credit: Ross A. Benson for Times Community News.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated from a previous version.]

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