New York

Choking Baby Saved in Middle of NYPD Graduation Ceremony at Madison Square Garden

What to Know

  • A baby who was at the NYPD graduation ceremony Wednesday to watch his father become an officer suddenly started choking on a snack
  • Nearby officers heard the baby's mother's cries for help and rushed over to administer CPR
  • Baby Daniel was saved, and cheers rang out on the third level of Madison Square Garden as he started breathing again

There's been a lot of amazing moments at Madison Square Garden, but a close call involving a choking baby Wednesday was anything but a game. 

During the NYPD Police Academy graduation Wednesday -- before 448 new officers tossed their caps in the air -- a baby boy named Daniel, who was in the audience to watch his father become one of New York's finest, suddenly started choking on a baby snack. 

"He was sitting on my lap and suddenly I feel him shaking," said Daniel's mother, Lillian Escorcia. "After I turned him around to see, I saw that he was shaking profusely."

"His eyes were rolling back so I wasn't sure what was going on," she said. "I was just terrified. I didn't know what to do."

Escorcia started screaming for help, and a couple of sections away, veteran cops Det. Mark Reubins and Lt. Greg Besson heard the faint cries. 

"We looked to our right and you heard, 'Help, help,' and you saw them holding the baby," said Reubins.

Besson and Reubins -- who's also a paramedic -- ran to baby Daniel, whose lips were turning blue. 

"At that moment, I said to myself, 'Wow, game on. This is real,'" said Besson.

Reubins put the child across his lap and began CPR. The baby remained still for several back blows -- and suddenly, miraculously, began crying. Cheers and celebration rang out up on the third level of the Garden. 

"It was pretty amazing at that point," said Reubins. "All you saw was that little foam and the bubbles coming out and that faint whimper, and then once you picked him up, you saw the crying and the looking around." 

"Everybody in that section started clapping so that was actually pretty cool," he said. "It was a great moment." 

Daniel was rushed to the hospital. His father, Leonarduo Escoria, never had the chance to throw his cap into the air. But because of his two new colleagues, he now does have the chance to hold his son.

"I'm so happy that he's OK, and especially being my first son -- it was a scary moment," he said. 

Lillian Escoria told Reubins and Bessons, "I'm so happy you came. I was so terrified. I feel relieved that at least we had someone around to help us." 

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