Jean-Paul LaPierre. (Photo courtesy WBZ-TV)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Jean-Paul LaPierre always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
The Boston boxer helped rescue a one-year-old baby who was trapped in a crashed car a few years ago. This summer, after authorities in Newton warned the public about an escaped python, he was the one who tracked it down.
And this past weekend, while LaPierre was in Chicago to run a marathon, he disarmed a robber on a city train.
After video of that last event started making the rounds online, WBZ NewsRadio caught up with LaPierre to talk about the many times he's been a Good Samaritan.
"I just happen to be at the place at the right moment—it just always happens to be that way, and I'm not afraid to act," said Jean-Paul, who goes by JP. "I know that I'm supposed to do something, I can't imagine not doing something, but I also know that I'm not like other people."
Back in 2015, the right place was Route 128 in Canton, where a chain-reaction crash left a one-year-old child trapped.
JP was driving by at the time, and was among the first on the scene of the crash. In the WBZ-TV video above, he told reporters how he heard the child crying inside the mangled vehicle, and helped pry him out with the assistance of another man.
He said the one thing he wanted people to take from the incident was not to be afraid to help their fellow humans.
"I keep thinking, you know, you gotta do something," he told reporters then. "I think sometimes in life you're called upon, and you just gotta act."
Four years later, he would be called upon for a stranger task: A brown and yellow Burmese python named Lightning escaped from its owners' yard, and neighbors were on edge.
JP said a friend from Springfield called to tell him, "Jean, go hunt that python down."
He did just that. Newton Police told NBC Boston he found the snake in a yard next to the one it came from, then picked it up and walked it home.
So how did he find the snake? JP says he gets "funny, strange" feelings before things happen—feelings he doesn't quite know how to explain.
"I knew, I had already envisioned catching the snake," he said. "I had already envisioned that I was gonna catch it, and I had already envisioned everything, how it went down."
He said he had a similar feeling ahead of this weekend's incident on a Chicago city train.
"You know, a couple days before the situation happened, I told my wife and I told my step-son, I already know something's gonna be happening on a train," he said. "I said it's gonna be happening real soon, and it's probably going to be really big. That was two days before."
On Sunday, as he was on his way to run his twelfth Chicago Marathon, JP and another man subdued and disarmed a man on that city's Blue Line.
Another passenger took a video of the incident:
JP said he noticed passengers quickly exiting a train car, then saw a man holding a gun. He and another passenger rushed that suspect, holding the man and eventually taking the gun away, before police arrived.
"I was mad, it just was wrong," he said. "I can't stand bullies, I have no patience for that, and it just made me really mad. I don't want to say the thought didn't cross my mind that I could get shot, but the way I look at it ... he wasn't walking out of that train on his own."
He said families of people on that train have called him to thank him, but he said he doesn't think he's a hero—to him, the word "hero" is reserved for people risking their lives on a daily basis, such as military or law enforcement.
But he did offer a bit of advice on how to do the right thing.
"I remember asking my mom when I was a kid, what is success?" he said. "She said to me, Jean, real success is doing God's will. I said, how will I know that? And she said, you'll know, because it'll be hard to do what you have to do."
WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker (@radiobenparker) reports