Passerby who saved AZ trooper from attack suffers PTSD, uses photography to cope

TONOPAH, Arizona — More than a year and a half after shooting and killing a man in defense of an Arizona state trooper, a good Samaritan says he now suffers from PTSD.

A man named Thomas Yoxall was heading to California with his wife on Interstate 10 back in January of 2017 when he came upon a fight between a suspect and a trooper, according to a statement from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The trooper, Edward Andersson, had been shot by a suspect after responding to a shots fired scene and finding a vehicle that had rolled.

While on his way to California, Yoxall came upon the scene, stopped and asked the trooper if he needed help, said the statement. When the trooper said he needed help, Yoxall got a weapon from his vehicle, “and told the suspect to stop. The suspect refused. The bystander shot and killed suspect.” 

Andersson, who was a 27-year veteran in law enforcement, had been shot in the chest and shoulder, according to previous reports. He underwent surgery and later recovered.

Yoxall was introduced to the public about a week-and-a-half after the shooting, according to the department of public safety’s records.

“Thomas Yoxall is the citizen that saved the life of Trooper Ed Andersson,” read a statement from the department.

Yoxall described the attack he came upon as a “savage” beating.

“I firmly believe that that morning I was put there… by God,” he said. “It’s difficult to think about that day still. I am just thankful that I was able to respond with the courage, dignity, grace, and poise that ultimately saved Trooper Andersson’s life.”

In a report by AZ Family, Yoxall said he’s suffered from PTSD since the incident, but uses photography to cope with the distress.

“The act of the shooting and everything like that doesn’t define who I am, but it’s a defining moment in my life,” said Yoxall to CBS 5 Arizona’s Family. “My Lord and Savior deemed it that he was gonna bless me with the opportunity to do his work that morning, and save a man’s life. And I will always be grateful for that.”

He said from that day he’s moved on with a deeper passion for his art, according to the report. He often photographs strangers, in an effort to learn about people and share their stories with the public.