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Officer says training helped save child

May 17, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

In many ways, April 26 was a night like any other for the members of the Hagerstown City Police Street Crimes Unit. Around 10 p.m., that all changed for Hagerstown Police officer Johnny Murray.

"As we were moving in to make an arrest on West North Avenue near Park Place, I heard the sound of someone screaming for help," Murray said. Within seconds, Murray saw a man standing in front of 411 Park Place ... holding a phone in his hand and screaming.

Murray then encountered Karen Bean as she came running out of the home holding a small child.

"I ran to her and grabbed the child, asking the mother what happened," Murray said. The child was pale, her lips were blue and her eyes were open but unresponsive. The child wasn't breathing.

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"I attempted a quick abdominal thrust without anything happening," Murray said. "Then I turned her over and performed two quick back blows followed by an abdominal thrust."

At that point, little 4-year-old Ky'Laray Gaines vomited and began to cry, Murray said. She was wrapped in a jacket and comforted until Community Rescue Service arrived on the scene.

"I checked on her about 2 a.m. the next day and found she had been examined by the emergency room staff at Washington County Hospital and released," Murray said.

A six-year veteran of the Hagerstown City Police, Murray said he just reacted that night and thanked his training for that.

"We have training every year for CPR and first aid so it just kicked in," Murray said.

Murray attended the National Police Week ceremony Thursday at police headquarters and was given the lifesaving award for his efforts to save Ky'Laray on April 26.

On hand for the ceremony were Murray's wife, Lori, and their two children, Kyle, 6, and Kennedy, 2. Ky'Laray and her parents were unable to attend.

"I called my wife right after it happened and she told me she could hear it in my voice when I told her about it," Murray said. "My adrenalin was pumping for hours. It's because I have kids of my own."

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith shook Murray's hand as he gave him the commendation for "a heck of job" that night.

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