A pair of police officers who helped to save a newborn baby in San Francisco’s Bayview District last week emotionally recounted the rescue at a news conference Monday.
Officers Matt Cloud and Steve Gritsch are “absolutely genuine heroes” for their quick actions early last Wednesday, police Chief Greg Suhr said.
The officers, who have been partners for the past two years, had responded to a request for a welfare check at Third Street and McKinnon Avenue and found a man holding a bloody baby wrapped in a jacket, Suhr said.
The baby boy appeared to have been born just about 30 minutes earlier and was not breathing, Gritsch said.
The officers called for an ambulance, but then decided to take the child to the hospital themselves rather than wait. As Cloud drove, Gritsch–who previously worked as an emergency medical technician in the North Bay–performed CPR on the baby in the back seat.
After arriving at the hospital, the young boy was revived and is expected to survive, although he remains at San Francisco General Hospital today.
Gritsch described his state of mind as “abject panic” as they drove to the hospital and said he did not think the boy was going to make it.
Cloud said he could hear his partner “crying and talking to the baby, just telling the baby to come back and breathe … that’s something that I’ll never forget.”
The officers and other members of the Police Department’s Bayview Station plan on gathering gifts for the boy “to give him some kind of Christmas,” Cloud said.
Suhr and other officials, including Supervisor Malia Cohen, were on hand at today’s event to praise the officers.
Following last Friday’s shooting of more than two dozen students and staff at an elementary school in Connecticut, Cohen said, “It’s very comforting to know that we’ve got first responders that are trained, that are smart, that are capable, and that are putting their lives on the line every day.”
As for the boy’s mother, 39-year-old Nneka Nash, she was found shortly afterward by other officers and was also taken to the hospital.
Nash has since been charged with felony willful cruelty to a child and misdemeanor failure to provide care to a child. She is expected to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday morning.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News