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Pittsburgh officer credits quick thinking, passerby for saving heart attack victim

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh police officer Forrest Hodges, the community relations officer for the Zone 1 police station, talks about performing CPR chest compressions on David Allen, 66, of Beaver. Allen collapsed near Consol Energy Center at the corner of Centre Avenue and Washington Place. Hodges, working a nearby police detail, and an ex-Army medic were first to respond to a cry for help and saved the man's life. Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. RaShall Brackney (right) listens as Hodges recounts the event.

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By Margaret Harding
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 1:12 p.m.
 

Pittsburgh police Officer Forrest Hodges credits the quick-thinking of those around him as much as his own actions for saving a man's life.

Hodges and a former military medic ran to help the man when he had a heart attack outside Consol Energy Center on Friday.

“It was just milliseconds later, the guy's shade of color changes,” said Hodges, who was working an off-duty detail at Centre Avenue and Washington Place during the Penguins game.

About 5:15 p.m., he heard a woman call out and turned around in time to see her trying to catch a middle-aged man as he fell.

Hodges began performing chest compressions, and a passer-by ran to the nearby Marriott hotel, returning with an employee and a defibrillator. The man was gasping for air when firefighters and paramedics arrived, Hodges said.

“Emotionally, I don't have the words to express how happy I am this man survived,” he said on Wednesday in a news conference at the Zone 1 station in the North Side.

The man, whose identity police did not release, was hospitalized at UPMC Mercy in fair condition, police said.

Cmdr. RaShall Brackney said the incident shows people that the city's police force is at work despite a scandal surrounding the department, involving in part the money that officers earn as security for businesses during off-duty hours.

“Even with headlines swirling around, our officers continue to perform with excellence,” she said.

The FBI and city officials are investigating whether someone diverted money to an unauthorized account at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union in Elliott. Federal agents seized records from the special events office at police headquarters.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl last week ousted police Chief Nate Harper, who gave officers, including the mayor's bodyguards, debit cards from the credit union to pay for trips, restaurant meals and hotels.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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