Pittsburgh Zone 3 Officer Aundre Wright, a former wide receiver for the University of Pittsburgh’s Panthers team, was walking the beat when he unexpectedly encountered a man dying from an overdose – and he knew he had to save that man’s life.
TribLive reported that Wright, along with Officers Jon Bradford, Brian Shelton and Dom Maggio were strolling along the 7000 block of Frankstown Avenue when a driver alerted them to a man a few blocks away who was unconscious and in dire need of help.
Wright, who doesn’t work in the Zone 5 neighborhood was on that patrol by chance, but he knew the area well. He said, “We weren’t going to walk that way. I grew up there, so I said, ‘let’s go this way, come this way.’”
When the officers arrived at the doorway of the home, they found a man showing no signs of life. The homeowner, who did not want to mention the use of drugs, had Narcan, an overdose-reversal drug on hand.
Wright then applied two doses of Narcan and began chest compressions, but the man remained unconscious.
“I was in the mode. I was like, ‘I’m not going to let this guy die,’” Wright said. “I’m waiting for him to respond, because usually they’ll come around … and he didn’t wake up. Now I’m in panic mode. I’m like, ‘Tell the medics to hurry – hurry, hurry, hurry.’”
Wright continued to perform chest compressions for three minutes, all the while Chief Scott Schubert, who was nearby, met up with them.
“Chief comes running up like, ‘What’s going on? You’ve been pumping for three minutes,’” Wright said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’m not giving up.’”
Eventually, after the medics arrived with oxygen and more Narcan was given, the man began to stir.
Another minute later, they get that little bit of grogginess where he’s like, ‘Arghh,’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, good deal,’” he said. “Once they get that ‘arghh,’ that moan – that’s a good feeling.”
Wright said the experience was one of his most rewarding on the force, and hopes that it will change the way some people view police officers.
“A lot of people are turning their nose up at us. This makes all that go away — that one moment where he’s like, ‘ahh,’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, score one for the good guys.’ You can be upset at me and hate my profession but I helped that guy, helped him see another day.”
Wright’s neighborhood walks tend to bring some interesting story. In early April the Pittsburgh Police Department posted a video on Twitter of a young girl challenging the former wide receiver to a race while walking the beat, but she didn’t stand a chance.