DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of thousands of people have seen surveillance video of Dallas police Officer Billy Taylor, which was captured as he was attacked by a man believed to be high on drugs.

Taylor, 32, recalls how the potentially life-threatening attack started, during his patrol of the area around The Bridge homeless shelter in Dallas.

“I was making the block and saw 2 guys fighting,” says Taylor.

One of those 2 guys was believed to be high on PCP. A downtown security camera recorded Taylor backing away after his baton and pepper spray failed to stop him.

“It didn’t affect him at all,” Taylor says. He had called for backup but feared the help would come too late, as the suspect, Samuel Jackson, charged him and began beating him.

Charles Alexander, a 45-year-old homeless man and former gang member, was in the crowd of people nearby. He is the only one who came forward to pull Jackson off the officer and ultimately body slam the suspect to the pavement before additional officers arrived.

“I wish we had more people like him,” says Taylor. “From knowing his background …to what he did…you wouldn’t have thought he wouldn’t have done that.”

The Dallas Police Department awarded Alexander its certificate of merit on Thursday and Taylor publicly shook the hand of the former gang leader and drug dealer who came to his rescue.

Alexander says he had no choice but to step in and help.

“That’s my nature I don’t like violence. I know what’s said about me in the paper and on the street but I don’t like the violence I had to do something its just the way I am,” said Alexander.

Officer Taylor says if it hadn’t been for Alexander, there is no telling what would have happened. When back up arrived, it took six officers to subdue the suspect. If he learned anything from this experience, he says it was to call for backup sooner.

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