(WJLA) - A couple of hours into what had been a routine shift, U.S. Capitol Police officer Nick Simons says everything suddenly changed when a man ran into the Hart Senate Office Building.
"A man came into the building and announced that there was a man outside the building having a heart attack," Simons said.
Simons ran out of the building's Constitution Avenue exit to find a man lying on a concrete slab with his arms flailing. He says the man then lost consciousness before starting to change color.
Simons says he had to learn CPR as a requirement for his job, but he decided to take more first-aid training than required after a friend saved an infant son using the Heimlich maneuver.
The Fairfax High School graduate took enough training to be able to instruct other officers in CPR – but after three years on the force, he had never actually had to perform it on someone until Wednesday at around 5:30 p.m.
Simons says he performed the CPR, and another officer grabbed a defibrillator from inside the building. Simons and a sergeant both used it on the approximately 60-year-old victim.
"The other officers and I kept giving compressions, and eventually the man slowly became semi-conscious and started to respond," Simons said.
Capitol Police did not name the man who suffered the heart attack, but say that as of Thursday he is still recovering in the hospital. They say the actions of Simons and the nearly dozen other officers who were with him very likely saved the man's life.
"It's one of the best feelings I've ever felt, and I know...speaking for all the other officers that were on scene and helped out, they felt the same way," Simons said.