RICHLAND -- Abraham Toure's parents wore smiles that were equal parts pride and humility as they accepted awards on their son's behalf at the Richland City Council meeting on Tuesday.
Toure, who is studying mechanical engineering at Washington State University in Pullman, was given a commendation from the Richland Police Department and a medallion from City Manager Cindy Johnson for the role he played in helping a rape victim in Claybell Park on Dec. 26, and in catching her alleged attacker.
"It is certainly an honor and privilege to tell the story of a very courageous young man," Police Chief Tony Corsi said. "His actions during this incident demonstrated a high degree of personal courage. ... If half of our citizens could emulate his actions when placed in a situation like that, this would be a much, much better place."
Toure was walking home past the park on the night of Dec. 26 when he heard sounds of a struggle in a thicket of Russian olive trees. He called police and ran to a neighbor's to get help, then ran back to the scene and made noise and flashed the light from his cell phone to try to scare away the assailant.
When the almost naked woman emerged from the trees -- scratched and beaten -- he picked her up and carried her to the neighbor's house, then rode with her in the ambulance to the hospital.
He also helped point police to the place where she was raped, giving police a starting point for their search.
Court documents said suspect John Ayala Magana, 29, of Kennewick, was found nearby after his car skidded off the road.
Police alleged that his pants were unbuttoned, his zipper down and he had scratches on his back that looked like defensive wounds from a fight.
Magana pleaded innocent to a charge of second-degree rape. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 22.
But the attention Tuesday was on Toure, whom Corsi said should consider a career in law enforcement.
"As soon as he's done with his education, the police department could use a young man like that," Corsi said.
His mother, Aissate Sidibe, said it was overwhelming to know the young man she still sees as a little boy may have saved a woman's life.
"I think what he did was a really nice thing," she said. "I'm happy (the victim) got the help she did at the right time."
She said her son was happy to hear he was being recognized by the city, even though he couldn't leave his studies to attend the meeting.
Also Tuesday, the council marked Corsi's impending retirement with a farewell reception and gratitude for his nine years of service to the city.
Council members noted that crime has gone down and the police department runs more efficiently because of his work.
"I think it is a testament to your leadership that we enjoy an extremely low crime rate in Richland," Councilwoman Sandra Kent said.
Corsi's last day is Jan. 28.