A deputy and his trainee saved a choking 1-year-old girl in Carson over the weekend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported Thursday.
Training officer Melvin Castro and his trainee, Deputy Omar Sanchez, were patrolling late Saturday in the 2100 block of Grace Avenue when a man appeared in the middle of the street jumping and waving his arms to get their attention.
They followed the man, who turned out to be the father of the choking girl, named Faith, to the man’s home, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
They were met at the rear of the home by the girl’s mother, who had Faith in her arms.
Castro, 37 and the father of two, said the girl wasn’t breathing and was lifeless, though her eyes were wide open.
The 11-year sheriff’s department veteran administered CPR, but the girl remained unresponsive.
Sanchez, who was on his fourth month of patrol training, drove a patrol vehicle for the first time that night as he raced the child to a hospital with Castro continuing efforts to revive her.
Other deputies blocked traffic and intersections to help expedite the transport.
Suddenly, while still en route to the hospital, the baby gasped for air.
“I felt kind of relieved but I was still panicked,” Castro said. “I was still worried because at the same time we were not there yet. I just wanted her to stay with me (until) we got to the hospital.”
The girl has since been released from the hospital and has made a full recovery.
“Training just kicked in,” said Castro, who had never performed CPR on a baby while on patrol. “The relief was intense.”
L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas lauded the deputies’ heroism.
“As a result of their split-second decision, an infant will live,” he said.
The tot’s mother, Kiah Moten, said Faith might not have survived without the deputies’ help.
“I just know that if it wasn’t for them, the outcome could’ve been very different for us,” she said. “So for the rest of our days, we are going to be grateful that they were able to come and assist us and save our daughter’s life.”
Sheriff Jim McDonnell noted that the deputies are humble and while their actions were heroic, they were “the kind of thing that goes on every day in America.”
“Too often this goes unnoticed,” he said.