LAPD officers credited with saving rapper's life

Pioneering '80s rapper Kurtis Blow credited four Los Angeles police officers today with saving his life by performing CPR when he collapsed at a bus stop near the Topanga Mall in Canoga Park last Saturday.

``I died and these officers saved my life," said the 57-year-old Harlem-born rapper and record producer, whose real name is Kurtis Walker.

``The police saved my life, a black man. In this day and age, people need to hear that," he said in a statement released by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The incident began unfolding about 9 p.m. last Saturday when a mall security guard spotted a younger man yelling at an older man at the bus stop and called police to report a possible robbery.

When the first two officers arrived at the scene, they quickly realized that there was no crime, but rather an argument between Walker and his 20- something son, according to the LAPD. Two other officers arrived soon

``As soon as we walked up to the group, the older man just collapsed," said LAPD Officer Chris Vege. ``We didn't think about it. We just acted. I swept his airway for obstructions, and Officer (Calvin Hill Jr.) started chest

After several minutes, Walker gasped for air, and the officers stopped compressions and rolled him back on his side.

``At this point, Walker stopped breathing again," Hill said. ``So we quickly 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."

Paramedics arrived and rushed Walker to West Hills Hospital, where he is still receiving care, police reported.

``We didn't think too much about what we had done, but we were curious to see how the man was doing," Vege said.

``So we drove to the hospital later that night, and several people made a big deal about us saving the man's life. We're happy for him and his family that he pulled through."

Vege and Hill, along with Officers Peter Parra and Felix Rodriguez, will be recommended for a Life Saving Award commendation, according to Sgt. Stephan Bell.