Canoga Park. Four LAPD officers performed CPR for over 5 minutes on a man who collapsed at a bus stop near the Topanga Mall last Saturday evening, around 9 PM. Paramedics arrived and took over first aid, then rushed the man to West Hills Hospital, where he remains today, getting treatment.
“I died and these officers saved my life,” said Kurtis Walker, aka Kurtis Blow, an 80s pioneering rapper, as he lay in his hospital bed days after being brought back to life on a West Valley street. “The police saved my life, a Black man. In this day and age, people need to hear that!”
“We didn’t think too much about what we had done, but we were curious to see how the man was doing,” explained Officer Chis Vege (pronounced VEGGIE), who is assigned to the Topanga Area Gang Unit. “So we drove to the hospital later that night, and several people made a big deal about us saving the man’s life! We were happy for him and his family that he pulled through.”
The incident began when a mall security guard saw a younger man yelling at an older man at the bus stop. The initial 9-1-1 call was described as a robbery. Officers Peter Parra and Felix Rodriguez arrived first and learned quickly there was no crime, but an argument between a 57-year-old man and his 20-something son. Officers Vege and his partner, Calvin Hill, Jr., arrived soon after. “As soon as we walked up to the group, the older man just collapsed,” Officer Vege said. “We didn’t think about it; we just acted. I swept his airway for obstructions, and Officer Hill started chest compressions.”
After several minutes, Mr. Walker gasped for air, so the officers stopped compressions and rolled him on his side. “At that point, Walker stopped breathing again,” Officer Hill explained. “So we rolled him back and I started compressions again, until paramedics arrived. I know the paramedics came quickly, but it seemed like a really long time when you’re pressing on a man’s chest, hoping he won’t die.” Witnesses estimated Officer Hill continued compressions for over 5 minutes.
The good-Samaritan officers still have not met Mr. Walker since the ordeal, but the singer wants to meet them as soon as he is out of the hospital. “The police are angels, and they are here to help us,” Walker said last night to Sgt. Stephan Bell, who is writing the Life Saving Award commendation for the officers. “They got there so fast. If they got there any later, I would have died. I want to thank the officers from the bottom of my heart, no pun intended.”
Mr. Walker is NOT available for visitors as of this release, however, a reunion will be arranged in the near future. Officers Vege and Hill will be available for interviews today, November 4, 2016, between 1 PM and 6PM, at the Topanga Police Station. News media can call (818) 756-4861 to verify availability and arrange an interview.
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