West Valley teen recognized for heroic actionsJan 30, 2019 12:09PM ● By Travis Barton
Salvador Colorado shares a laugh with Police Chief Colleen Jacobs as she presents him with the Courageous Citizen Award from the West Valley City Police Department. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Salvador Colorado walked slowly. It wasn’t until he made eye contact with Sisilia Mila that he realized what was happening.
“I knew that she was in danger because she was scared, I saw her face, her eyes, everything. She was just in panic,” said Salvador, a 15-year-old sophomore at Granger High.
That’s when he snuck up behind the large man who was pointing a knife at Mila. Salvador grabbed the man and slammed him to the ground.
Salvador was recently given a Courageous Citizen Award by West Valley City in January “for taking quick and heroic actions to help a person in need.”
“It’s good to see and recognize positive things that happen in our community,” Mayor Ron Bigelow said after Salvador was presented a plaque by Police Chief Colleen Jacobs.
Salvador always takes a late night run, but on Sept. 7, he decided to run a different, longer route. He had just slowed down from a sprint when he heard the scream.
“I didn’t know what was going on, but it was like one of those SOS screams,” he said.
He saw two people in a small parking lot at Aspen Village Apartments on 3500 South 3063 West. After Mila caught Salvador’s eye, she quickly looked away. “She didn’t want to startle him, so she was smart in her part,” Salvador said.
Mila had just returned home from visiting her sister. Collecting her things, she climbed out of her car to find a man holding a hunting knife, his face covered with a bandana. The man demanded anything valuable. Fearing for her life, Mila started screaming.
Those “SOS screams” caught the attention of Salvador, who came over to see what was happening. As he got closer, Salvador saw something shiny, a knife pointed at Mila’s throat. Salvador continued to slowly inch closer to the man to make sure he didn’t hear or see him. After the Granger sophomore threw the man to the ground, he stepped in front of Mila before the man ran off.
Salvador said the situation could have easily escalated with a very different outcome. “I’m just glad that I stopped it.”
After the cops came and left, Salvador and Mila spoke for another hour just talking about life.
“You could tell she was a mother because of the way she was talking to me,” he said. “She just had wise words to say.”
When he finally left to head home, Salvador checked his phone to find 11 missed calls, all from his mother.
Speaking in Spanish, she told the West Valley Journal she was surprised when he told her the story. Her response has been translated.
“I didn’t know this part of him,” she said. “I knew that I have good kids, but I didn’t know this part of him. I feel very proud of them.”
Though Salvador had never done anything like this, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him.
“I grew up in a very low income neighborhood, I've experienced a lot of things with my parents, friends, the neighborhood,” he said. “I’ve never been in a situation like that, but a lot of those things were natural from where I came from.”
He’s also been an athlete his whole life, primarily a soccer player. He credited his many coaches over the years for teaching him how to remain calm under pressure.
“I kind of panicked,” Salvador said. “But at the same time tried to keep as calm as I can and just try to process everything that was happening, but quickly so I tried to react as best as I could.”
Salvador, who has two younger sisters and seven older brothers, currently plays with Apex soccer club and is a varsity soccer player at Granger. But that could change next year. He received an offer to go play at the RSL Academy in Herriman. His plan is to begin his junior year there then hopes to go pro straight out of high school.
He still jogs at night. He loves to stay active, but he remains careful, aware of his surroundings. Because that night comes back to him every day.
Whatever route Salvador ends up taking, if it ends up anything like his extended running route on Sept. 7, then he’ll have a lot more people thanking him.