Fullerton PD honors citizen who thwarted a potential tragedy


Every month, the Fullerton Police Department honors a citizen who, by a single act, makes a significant contribution to the department’s crime-fighting efforts.

Robert Von Esch did exactly that.

On the morning of June 6, Von Esch, an attorney and Fullerton resident, was driving to his law office when his routine commute suddenly took a radical turn.

Von Esch was headed east along Chapman Avenue near Yale Avenue when he saw two men severely beating another man on the sidewalk.

“I could tell pretty quickly that it was a pretty intense fight,” Von Esch said.

The two men were kicking and punching their victim, who appeared helpless and unable to fend off the attackers.

The fight spilled onto the roadway.

Somebody needs to do something to stop this, Von Esch thought.

So he stopped his car in the middle of the roadway, essentially shielding the men from oncoming vehicles.

Von Esch then got out of his car and pulled the two men off of the third. When doing so, he noticed one of the attackers had a handgun.

Alarmed, he quickly got back into his car and started driving as he prepared to call 911. But he soon saw patrol cars, with lights flashing, speeding toward the incident.

FPD Chief Dan Hughes presents the Chief's Commendation to Rob Von Esch. Photo courtesy of the Fullerton Police Department

FPD Chief Dan Hughes presents the Chief’s Commendation to Rob Von Esch on July 13. Photo courtesy of the Fullerton Police Department

Realizing he was a key witness, Von Esch figured he should stay at the scene and assist the police in any way he could.

He did just that, giving officers a detailed description of the suspects and their vehicle.

The two men were tracked down and arrested.

At FPD’s monthly crime strategy meeting July 13, Chief Dan Hughes presented Von Esch with the Chief’s Commendation for his actions.

“Because of his selflessness, and the detailed descriptions he provided to arriving officers, FPD was able to locate the suspect vehicle and the suspects, both of whom were taken into custody,” a department spokesperson said.

Von Esch was surprised when he received a call from the FPD days later, inviting him to be honored for his actions.

“I thought that was pretty nice,” he said.