CULVER CITY, Calif. (FOX 11) - They're the ones we count on most when it's life or death and Monday night, a first responder was honored for his heroism.
Culver City Police Officer Brian Cappell saved a baby who was unconscious and not breathing. 10-month old Harley was choking on a piece of food called a "baby puff" that is supposed to dissolve in her mouth but didn't. Her older sister, Auria Moore, pulled the puff out of her mouth but the baby stopped breathing.
The girls' mother, Janet Lockridge, pulled over the car and called 911. Lockridge says blood was coming out of her baby's mouth and then she was unresponsive. So, 10-year old Auria took off running two blocks down the street towards the sound of the police sirens, determined to flag down the officer on his way.
In about a minute, Officer Cappell got to the intersection but couldn't immediately find Lockridge's car. Then he heard a little girl screaming and saw her in her pink pajamas, waving down his flashing lights.
"Where's your sister?" Officer Cappell asked in a hurry.
"Over here!" she exclaimed, and the two heroes took off running towards the car.
Officer Cappell grabbed unresponsive Harley, turned her over into the palm of his hand and hit her back repeatedly. After about a dozen strikes, the infant let out a cry and then a long shriek.
"It was the most beautiful cry I've ever heard in my life," Officer Cappell told Fox 11's Hailey Winslow. "Going from silence to crying is an unimaginable sound."
"As soon as we heard that cry it was like an angel. It was literally like God sent his angel through him," recalled Lockridge.
Paramedics and firefighters quickly arrived and Cappell handed over Harley for treatment.
Culver City Council members and police recognized Officer Cappell for his heroism at City Hall Monday. He will receive an official award in the near future.
"Cherish your children's lives and hug them right now because you might not have Officer Cappell," said Lockridge. "I hope it does not happen to anybody else because it was the worst situation of my entire life."
The American Red Cross recommends CPR certification on adults and infants and refresher courses for those already certified. The Red Cross advises printing out the step-by-step guide and keeping it in your car, wallet or first aid kit for quick access.
Auria told Winslow when she grows up she wants to be a professional ice skater or "professional police flagger-downer."