‘Just like my training’: Off-duty Cleveland police officer helps save neighbor’s life

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered a story of survival that never seemed possible. A man now has a second chance at life thanks to a rescue led by an off-duty Cleveland cop with no time to spare.

It happened in the West Park section of the city.

Officer John Halkiadakis told us, late one evening a few weeks ago, “We hear this banging on the door and it’s the neighbor. He’s like, ‘You’ve got to get over. Ed’s not doing well,’ so I put on my shoes, I run over there.”

Ed Kopp lives next door.

“Had a heart attack. I blacked out. Had a full cardiac arrest unfold,” Kopp said.

Halkiadakis remembers what he saw inside the home.

“There’s Ed on his recliner, but he’s purple. I mean, I don’t even recognize him,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the 911 call, you hear a dispatcher ask, “Is he breathing?”

A man at the home says, “No, he’s non-responsive.”

There was no time to wait for firefighters and EMS.

“Just started doing CPR and I told my wife, ‘Just like my training,'” the off-duty officer said.

On the 911 recording, you hear the dispatcher say, “I’m gonna start counting with you just to make sure you guys are going fast enough.”

The officer said he kept up CPR with help from the son of the man having the heart attack. Incredibly, they brought back a pulse before rescue squads got there.

“His color started coming back. He started breathing. I’m like, ‘Wow,’” Halkiadakis said.

“The cardiologist told me it was a bad one. What they call the ‘widowmaker,’” Kopp said.

The officer tells us, just weeks before that, he had gone through a refresher course on CPR with the police department. A neighbor found him at home the night of the rescue because he’d decided not to work overtime.

“I thank God for his training and the fact that he was a policeman. People give a bad rap to the Cleveland police, and I’m sure glad I’ve got him for a neighbor,” Kopp said.

“I’ve saved people before being on the job, but when its someone you know, it’s more personal. He’s a friend of mine,” Halkiadakis said.

On the night of the rescue, other neighbors on the block also scrambled to the scene to see how they could help.

This week, we watched that off-duty officer and recovering heart patient say hello in the front yard.

Now, more than just friends. More than just neighbors.

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