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Mesa good Samaritan chases down armed hit-and-run suspect

Mesa police later found that the suspect had hid drugs in his rectum following the crash.

MESA, Ariz — A Mesa man is being hailed a hero after he chased down an armed suspect who ran into a busy pizza place filled with families after crashing. 

“It all happened so fast," said Jason Tani.

It started as a typical Thursday night for Jason Tani and his family who was playing at Riverview Park in Mesa.

“Then I hear a tire screeching," Tani said.

A gold car crashed into a van. Tani didn't know anyone involved, but right away, he walked over to the scene to help. The driver of the van was bleeding from her face, according to a police report.

To everyone's surprise, the driver of the gold car, Arturo Camacho Jr., took off running with a gun in his hand.

Tani's instinct told him to run after him, so he did, even though the suspect was significantly bigger than Tani.

“It was kind of surprising. You can’t take off, you’re in an accident!” Tani said.

Camacho ran through the nearby shopping center and honed in on a Peter Piper Pizza. He ran inside the restaurant, which was filled with small children and families, sending the place into a panic. Tani followed him there.

“I just kind of made sure he didn’t go run out the back door. Waited until police came. So then they came. They locked down the Peter Piper and got everyone out," Tani said.

Mesa Police arrested Camacho and later found the 29-year-old ditched his gun in the bushes shortly after shoving a bag of 120 Percocet pills up his rectum and running. 

Police also found a bag of meth and drug paraphernalia inside Camacho's car.

“It all just happened really quick," Tani said.

Police say the suspect has a lengthy criminal history, including aggravated assault and domestic violence, making him a prohibited possessor.

Now, officials say a wanted criminal is off the street in part thanks to the courage of a random stranger.

“The police describe you as a hero. What do you think about that?” asked 12 News Reporter Bianca Buono.

“I don’t really see it as a hero. Maybe just trying to do what’s right," Tani said.

Camacho is now facing a slew of charges.

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