There are very few heroes left in this world, it seems. But Troy Cansler, a 47-year-old husband and dad of a 12-year-old daughter, was one of them. Sadly, Cansler’s incredible actions on April 27 in a Yucaipa, California, parking lot also proved that heroism can come with a terrible price.
Troy Cansler died on Sunday, in a valiant effort to protect a woman he had never met.
Around 9:30 in the evening Sunday, outside a Stater Bros. grocery store in this small San Bernardino County city, 26-year-old Krystina Hanrahan had just finished doing some shopping and was pushing a shopping cart containing both her groceries and her two-year-old daughter, when a mugger pounced on her.
The attacker was not content just to grab for Hanrahan’s purse, he stabbed her five times as her toddler looked on in horror. He stabbed the young mom twice in her left arm, and three times in the chest, inflicting wounds to both of the woman’s breasts.
But he may have killed Hanrahan had Troy Cansler, and ironworker and, like Hanranan, resident of Yucaipa, not leaped to her rescue. The mugger fled and Troy cansler chased him down to the Jack In The Box burger restaurant next door to the grocery store parking lot.
Cansler tackled the escaping thug — but in the struggle, the mugger stabbed Troy Cansler in the neck.
The hero Good Samaritan passed away from his wound later that evening at a nearby hospital.
San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene at 9:37 pm. It didn’t take them long to find their suspect, Vincent Alex DeLeon, also of Yucaipa. The 26-year-old alleged killer was arraigned Tuesday morning in San Bernardino County Superior Court where he entered not guilty pleas to charges of murder, attempted murder and robbery.
Also on Tuesday, The woman whose life Troy Cansler gave his own to save, a woman who was a complete stranger to him, delivered a tearful message to her unexpected guardian’s family.
“I would just say to (Troy Cansler’s) mom, ‘Your son is a hero and thank you for raising such a commendable member of society, who would protect anybody at any cost,’” Hanrahan said. “And to the wife and daughter, ‘He was a true hero, an amazing man.’”
“There are not too many people who would do that, what he did,” said Autumn Cansler, the wife of Troy Cansler for 17 years. “That was Troy. I wouldn’t expect anything less of him.”
A memorial fund at GoFundMe.com was set up this week, to benefit the wife and daughter Troy Cansler left behind while proving that true heroes still exist, even today.