Cop saves boy choking on popcorn at Police Academy graduation

Detective Mark Rubins was sitting in the upper section of the Theater at Madison Square Garden at about 11:30 a.m. when he heard a woman yell, “Help! Please!”

By Graham Rayman
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Quick action by a medically trained NYPD detective saved the life of baby boy who got popcorn stuck in his throat Wednesday at the Police Academy graduation ceremony.

Detective Mark Rubins, 42, was sitting in the upper rear section of the Theater at Madison Square Garden at about 11:30 a.m. when he heard a woman yell, “Help! Please!”

“The baby was limp in her arms and his lips were blue,” Rubins said.

Rubins, a paramedic for 20 years, ran down an aisle to the mom’s side.

The boy’s father, newly minted Officer Leonardo Escorcia, was on the theater’s main level with the rest of his graduating class when he heard from his wife that their 1-year-old son Daniel was choking.

“I started running toward her. By the time I got there, I saw Detective Rubins — he had my son on his shoulder,” Escorcia said.

“My son seemed like he was not himself. He was pale. He kept passing out by the time I got there.

“The look he was giving was not his usual look. He's usually a happy baby. When I saw him like that, I was really scared.”

Rubins said he performed CPR and quickly got the little boy to cough up the popcorn. Daniel was soon breathing normally.

“He started to spit up a bit, which I still have on my shoulder,” Rubins said. “He was still lethargic, but he wasn’t blue anymore and his pulse was strong.”

Escorcia — who is assigned to the 79th Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn — was grateful for his new colleague’s quick action.

“When they told us we should take him to the hospital, I knew I had to miss graduation,” Escorcia said. “But family comes first.”

Rubins joined the NYPD in 2006 and is now assigned to the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force. He also works two days a month as a paramedic in Westchester County.

Rubins ended up near the back of the theater when he traded his tickets closer to the stage so his his FBI colleagues had a better view of the ceremony.

“It’s a phenomenal feeling,” he said of having saved the baby boy.

Copyright 2018 New York Daily News


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