"This individual went the extra mile," says Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley

By Tara Fowler
Updated January 30, 2015 03:45 PM
Credit: Getty

Think twice before you hang up on the next telemarketer who calls you: That person could save your life.

Mario Gonzales of Americare Health & Nutrition in Las Vegas was making a routine follow-up call to a client in Lebanon, Oregon, on Wednesday when he heard what he thought was some sort of struggle going on in the background. So Gonzales dialed the cops and gave them her address, Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley tells PEOPLE.

“It’s a great example of teamwork all around,” Riley says. “This individual went the extra mile. He really made a difference in this woman’s life.”

Gonzales told officers that the unidentified woman could be heard screaming for help and shouting, “please don’t kill me.”

When the deputies got to the scene, they knocked on the door several times. “They heard a woman inside yelling and a male voice trying to calm her, to quiet her,” the sheriff says.

The door to the home wasn’t locked, so the officers went in, where they discovered the assault was still taking place.

“The victim ran past the deputies to escape out the front,” Riley says. Police arrested Walter Warren John Ruck on the spot and charged him with fourth-degree assault, menacing and strangulation.

The couple had been in a relationship, according to Riley. He says they’d broken up a few days earlier, but Ruck had lured the woman back to the house, saying he was sick and needed assistance.

“So she went back and they ended up getting into a struggle,” Riley says. “He tried to smother her. There was a rifle involved at one point. He threatened to kill himself and wanted her to do it.”

Thankfully, Gonzales called when he did. “Kudos to the individual in Las Vegas. He chose to stay on the line with her for a good 10, 15 minutes before our officers got there. That’s a long time.”

The woman received only minor injuries. Adds Riley: “Mr. Gonzales probably saved her life.”