"When I told him to freeze, it was the voice of the Lord," he told CBS' Jim Axelrod.
A Texas-style monk, apparently.
Linden Police Officer Sharon Gillespie was in the process of arresting Andrew Gray. He was wanted for assault.
"She told him he was under arrest. When she pulled her handcuffs out, he spun around and grabbed hold of her," said Linden Police Chief Alton McWaters.
That's where Mr. Coughlan comes in. Officer Gillespie and Gray were wrestling when Gillespie lost control of her gun.
"They wrassled there for a little while and then a man ran up beside them and grabbed it and took it out of his hand," said McWaters.
"I didn't see the gun until I was about 5 feet away. By that time I was able to speed up and reach in just at the right time to get the gun. And I pointed it at him and I told him to freeze," said Coughlin said.
But the story doesn't end there - not in this age of video cameras mounted on police cruiser dashboards. The suspect continued to wrestle with both Coughlan and Gillespie - until a second do-gooding bystander hopped in. Literally. She didn't want her name used, but she sat on top of the pile until Gray was subdued and Officer Gillespie could restore order.
"He meant to shoot her -- there's no doubt in my mind. If it wasn't for them, I don't know what would have happened," McWaters said. "I don't think it would have turned out very well."
But in Linden, Texas that's not something they have to worry about, thanks to two bystanders who did get involved -- 15 minutes of fame that may have saved a police officer's life.