A Durango police officer is credited with saving a baby’s life last weekend while responding to an unrelated call.
On Sunday, Cpl. Juan Gallegos was dispatched to an in-town apartment complex, where a man armed with a knife was threatening suicide, according to the Durango Police Department’s Facebook page and Chief of Police Kamran Afzal. While Gallegos was waiting for backup, a dispatcher said the man had a torch and was threatening to burn down the apartment complex.
Gallegos ran into the building, and just as he contacted the man with the torch, a neighbor in the complex frantically ran up to Gallegos saying her baby was choking, according to the Facebook post.
“He told the person (the suicidal man) I have to be right back, went up there, called the medics and then turned the baby over and did the Heimlich maneuver,” Afzal said. “The baby started crying, and (the officer) handed the baby right back to the mom, and then went and handled the gentleman that was in the mental crisis situation.”
“Absolutely, he did save the baby’s life,” the chief said.
Gallegos talked to the man who was threatening suicide about getting help, and another officer took him to the hospital.
All in a day’s work, Afzal said.
“That’s part of the job,” he said. “If you talk to most cops ... that’s part of the DNA, whether it’s the police department guys or the fire department folks. You do your job, and you just move on to the next call, so to speak.”
Gallegos mentioned the incident in a report, but he didn’t make a big deal of it, Afzal said. The mother of the child called police to say if it wasn’t for Gallegos, she would have lost her baby, he said.
Gallegos is friendly and dedicated to his job, the chief said.
“Always has a smile on his face, every time I see him,” Afzal said.
Gallegos returned to the apartment complex on Monday to check on the baby.
“We are happy to say that the baby is doing very well thanks to Cpl. Gallegos’ quick response in administering first aid,” the Facebook post says.