Staten Island, N.Y. — The three NYPD cops who jumped into action Sunday night to save a man who suffered a heart attack at Rab’s Country Lanes in Dongan Hills said their quick reaction was “second nature” for officers in their position. “I don’t feel like a hero,” one of the officers said. “This is what we signed up for.”
Giovanni Cucuzza, 28, Joseph Glorioso, 31, and John Desiderio, 34 — all members of the NYPD’s 61st Precinct in Brooklyn — spoke at a press conference at One Police Plaza in Manhattan on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after their heroic actions.
The trio detailed the moments that occurred after a man appeared to stumble a few lanes away from where they were bowling in a weekly league game alongside Laura Ciccarello, 28, Cucuzza’s fianceé.
While the entire episode — which was captured on surveillance video — lasted only about 90 seconds, Glorioso said, “it felt a lot longer.”
Cucuzza, who was the first officer to arrive beside the struggling man, said he attempted to talk to him, but the man was “in and out of consciousness.”‘
After failing to find a pulse, he ran to retrieve a defibrillator. Because he regularly attends the alley, Cucuzza said he knew where it was and he returned to the man within seconds.
Meanwhile, the officers said Glorioso kept the man’s airways open while Desiderio began chest compressions.One shock from the defibrillator restored the man’s pulse, they said.
“It’s exhilarating when it works,” Desiderio said on Tuesday. “Just to know that he gets to spend more time with his family … I’m grateful for that.”
Rodney Harrison, NYPD chief of patrol, commended the officers for their unflinching action at Tuesday’s press conference.
“It’s very great to see officers that I work with do such a phenomenal job off-duty,” Harrison said.
Speaking to the severity of the incident, Harrison said the officer “saw somebody that was going through a very, very critical time.”
They jumped into action,” Harrison said. “And that’s the training we provide to all of our officers.”
Harrison echoed the sentiments of the three Brooklyn officers, saying members of the NYPD, “Either on or off duty, [are] here to save lives, protect people, help people. That’s why we signed up. To be the best we can be.”
After officers aided the man, he was transported to Staten Island University Hospital North in Ocean Breeze. He is expected to survive, authorities said.
Following their heroic actions, the officers said they returned to their bowling game.
“I actually bowled probably my best game I’ve ever bowled in my life,” Desiderio said with a laugh. “I’m sure next week I will not be that good.”
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