Six months after intervening during an attempted child kidnapping, SLCC student Michael Armajo was honored by the UTA Police Department with the Citizen’s Medal of Excellence on December 9, 2010.
“Whenever you’re presented with a situation in front of you and someone weaker than yourself needs your help, you should do it, regardless of the outcome,” Armajo said.
UTA Police Chief Ross E. Larsen presented the 25-year old biotechnology student with the award at an awards ceremony, along with three other citizens.
Armajo was riding the TRAX train up to Primary Children’s Hospital that day for his shift as a Pediatric Intern when he encountered the situation.
According to official police documents, on June 29, 2010, Armajo noticed a young boy asking for help while being yelled at by the man [the alleged kidnapper] he was with. Armajo tried to say something to the man and got between him and another rider, when the man attempted to hit another passenger.
Armajo was struck in the face. With the help of other patrons on the train, he was able to hold the man down until the train arrived at the next station.
“I’m very proud of him,” said Michael’s sister, Angela Armajo, “Just kind of scared it could have turned on him, it could have ended differently. I was scared for the child, too.”
SLCC Professor of Biology Dr. Anna Baker had Michael Armajo as a student last fall semester.
“I guess we never know how we will act in those situations until it arises. In hindsight, it does not surprise me that he intervened. We can only hope we would have the courage to respond in the same manner,” Baker said.
Armajo is heavily involved at Salt Lake Community College and is an active member in six different clubs, as well as President of the Video Game Club.
Pursuing a degree in the medical field, Michael aspires to become a doctor, more specifically a Pediatric Cardiologist, and plans to help those in need.
“The road to becoming a cardiologist is a long and difficult one. Mr. Armajo has the will and the interest. If he buckles down and commits to it, he should be successful,” Baker said.
While the attempted kidnapping case is still under investigation, Armajo doesn’t regret getting involved to protect the young boy and other riders on the train.
“I was glad I was there to help him. I was lucky I didn’t get hurt. I’d do it again,” he said.