All the conditions were right for Albany police officer Luke Deer to save a life, just one month into his job. Geoff Redick reports.
ALBANY, N.Y. - On a quiet dead end street in Albany last Thursday, an unresponsive man was given a fighting chance at life. It's all thanks to a rookie cop with about a month of experience, who still rides with a field training officer.
Officer Luke Deer was on patrol with that training officer Thursday when the EMS call came in: an unresponsive male, lying in the roadway on Putnam Street.
"We arrived at the scene, and cleared the crowd back to check him out," Deer recalls. "He had no pulse and he wasn't breathing."
33-year-old Keyshuan Tillery had no vital signs. He was suffering from a respiratory and cardiac episode, brought on by the condition Sarcoidosis. It's an immune system disorder which causes the body to overreact to certain pathogens.
Keyshuan's sister could only watch helplessly as Tillery lay on the ground.
"My daughter came upstairs and said 'my uncle fell,'" says Tillery's sister, Shakeyisha Bynum. "I looked out the window and saw that he collapsed. The only thing I was thinking, it was his lungs or something."
The only thing Officer Deer was thinking about, was his training. Deer served a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps before joining Albany P.D., and had been trained in combat lifesaver techniques. He'd also been specially certified in CPR during police academy training.
"I started to do chest compressions," says Deer, "did that for two to three minutes, until EMTs got there. Then I rotated with them, continuing chest compressions."
Keyshuan Tillery was later loaded into an ambulance. On the way to the hospital, paramedics administered a defibrillator treatment, which shocked Tillery's heart back into rhythm.
Tillery remains in a medically-induced coma at Albany Medical Center. He is listed in critical condition. His sister says Tillery is a fighter, and believes he'll survive the ordeal. She also thanks Officer Deer for his quick action.
"Luke Deer has definitely played a part in my brother still being here," she says. "I couldn't be more grateful for that."
Deer says he's no hero, or "big-shot" just a man who did his job.