LAPD Officers Save Infant from Certain Death

August 2, 2002

Devonshire Officers Reunite With Infant and Parents
Friday, August 2, 2002
Devonshire Community Police Station
10240 Etiwanda Avenue
Los Angeles: On July 26, 2002, at approximately 6:30 p.m. Police Officer III David Heilman and Police Officer II Jason Sharman, assigned to Devonshire Special Enforcement Unit, were on patrol near the Park Parthenia Housing Complex when a young girl ran towards their vehicle requesting their assistance. The officers immediately stopped and were informed that the little girl’s 10 month old brother had stopped breathing. In response, the officers summoned the help of Los Angeles Fire Department’s (LAFD) Paramedics, and then as they rushed towards the apartment they were met by the infant’s distraught father, who was now carrying the child, Victor De La Cruz.
As Officer Sharman reached for the child, he noted that the infant was bleeding from the mouth, but thankfully crying, which the officers recognized as a positive sign. Suddenly, as Officer Sharman reached for the child, he noticed that Victor had stopped breathing and then he went limp in his arm. As trained, the officer began to finger sweep the infant’s mounth in an effort to search for and clear any apparent airway blockage. In doing so, Officer Sharman felt that what he believed to be a piece of meat, but unable to dislodge it from the infant’s throat. Recognizing that time was crucial, the officer then turned Victor on his stomach and gently applied several blows to his back, hopeful that the minimal force would free the object. Unfortunately, this technique was unsuccessful leading Officer Sharman to resort to use of the Heimlich Maneuver. After several gentle abdominal thrusts to the infant’s lower abdomen, a small piece of what was later determined to be chicken fell from little Victor’s lifeless body. Within seconds Victor began to breathe and to the officers’ great relief, his small, still body began to move.
Within minutes LAFD Paramedics arrived and transported Victor to Northridge Hospital. A doctor’s examination revealed no lasting effects as a result of the incident and little Victor was later released back into his parent’s waiting arms.
A later inquiry revealed that prior to the choking, Victor’s mother had been in the process of feeding him when the unfortunate accident occurred. Paramedic Al Bush, who treated the infant, advised that had it not been for the officer’s swift and certain actions, little Victor might have certainly died.
For further information please contact Lieutenant Joseph Eddy, Officer In Charge, Devonshire Detectives, 818-756-8291.