An emergency response on Saturday, July 21, 2018 requiring red lights and sirens for a one year-old baby chocking led Carson Station deputies to a late evening shift they will never forget.
Within approximately one minute, training officer Melvin Castro and his trainee, Deputy Omar Sanchez, turned onto the 2100 block of Grace Avenue in Carson. There, in the middle of the street, a male adult frantically jumped and wailed his arms in the sky in a desperate attempt to get their attention.
Deputies Castro and Sanchez sped to the frantic man, quickly parking the patrol car, and followed behind the father who was desperately guiding them to his dying baby girl.
At the rear of the house, deputies Castro and Sanchez were met by a hysterical mother who ran towards them, clutching her one year-old baby in her arms. She pushed the lifeless and limp body of Baby Faith onto Deputy Castro’s chest in what seemed to be her last hope of bringing her baby back to life.
“She wasn’t breathing. Her eyes were wide open. There was no life in the kid. She just lay lifeless, limp.” Those were the words of Deputy Castro, a 37 year-old father of two and 11 year veteran of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
“This isn’t good,” he thought. “I checked her pulse. Checked to see if she was breathing. She was not.”
Deputy Castro immediately took lifesaving action by administering CPR. Baby Faith remained unresponsive, cradled in Deputy Castro’s arm as he continued trying to revive her.
“I felt like we had been there too long…and every second counts,” said Deputy Castro. “So I decided to transport her.”
Deputy Sanchez, who was on his fourth month of patrol training, had yet to drive a patrol vehicle in an emergency. However today, a life and death situation thrust him in the spotlight of navigating to the nearest hospital in the quickest and safest way possible.
“When the mom handed Deputy Castro the baby, my T.O. [training officer] said we were going to the hospital, I grabbed the keys. I was nervous but I had to do it. I said to myself we better get there quick.”
Deputies Castro and Sanchez jumped into the patrol car. As Deputy Castro entered the front passenger seat, still attempting to revive Baby Faith, Deputy Sanchez initiated the patrol vehicle’s red lights and siren – his first ever emergency response behind the wheel.
By that time, Deputies Timothy Cho, Jeffrey Rupert, Larry Billoups, Nathan Mackey, and Miguel Herrera whom were already on scene, began the logistical coordination of the emergency route by blocking traffic and intersections, as well as the clearing of roadways necessary to expedite Baby Faith’s transport to the hospital.
Deputy Sanchez said, “I kept looking over as Deputy Castro was giving CPR, I wanted to see if she was reacting.”
And suddenly, on the way to the hospital, the baby gasped for air.
“I felt kind of relieved but I was still panicked,” said Deputy Castro. “I was still worried because at the same time we were not there yet. I just wanted her to stay with me till we got to the hospital.”
Arriving to the hospital, they pulled up to the front entrance and ran past the awaiting staff directing them to the pediatric emergency room. There, they handed Baby Faith, who was still gasping for air, to medical personnel.
Since then, she has made a full recovery, having been released from the hospital and now back home.
Deputy Castro had never performed CPR on a baby while on patrol before. “Training just kicked in,” he said. “The relief was intense.”
“These deputies exhibited heroism,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas whose district includes Carson. “As a result of their split second decision, an infant will live.”
Kiah Moten, mother of Baby Faith stated, “I just know that if it wasn’t for them, the outcome could’ve been very different for us. So for the rest of our days, we are going to be grateful that they were able to come and assist us and save our daughters life.”
Sheriff Jim McDonnell stated, “These deputies are very humble. What they did was tremendous and the kind of thing that goes on every day in America. Too often this goes unnoticed. We are here to celebrate a job well done and a life saved.”