Neighbors of a port authority police officer are calling the man a hero after he chased down a suspect who had allegedly stabbed a Queens woman. Giovanni Urena was asleep in his home on 104th Street when he heard the cries of his neighbor, 31-year-old Beatriz Huerta. His quick-thinking could very well have saved Huerta’s life.
At around 1:45 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Urena was awakened from his nap by a disturbance taking place downstairs on the sidewalk outside his home. The New York Daily News reported that the 34-year-old officer looked out the window to see Huerta bleeding and crying out, “My baby, my baby!” As soon as their eyes met, 61-year-old Benito Abreu fled the scene.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Urena quickly pulled on a pair of jeans and ran outside to confront Abreu, who was still holding the knife as he fled. Huerta was bleeding from knife wounds in her back and Abreu was covered in blood. Urena took off after him and tackled him to the ground with the help of witnesses to the assault.
The altercation was believed to have started when Huerta asked Abreu to stop smoking outside her home. Her 2-year-old daughter suffers from asthma. The relationship had become hostile and could have escalated to the violent interaction, according to neighbor Saturino Cosme.
“I do remember they had an exchange a while ago. She told him that she didn’t like him smoking outside the house because her daughter has asthma,” 66-year-old Cosme told the New York Daily News.
Urena is a five-year veteran of the Port Authority Police Department. However, his only concern was to ensure the safety of Huerta and her daughter. Fortunately, the little girl was unharmed during the incident.
“I just had to do the right thing,” Urena said. “I just had to do something to save the baby girl.”
Thank you for your heroism, Officer Giovanni Urena, for immediately springing into action when you heard someone screaming for help! This off-duty officer managed to run down and subdue a stabber while barefoot and unarmed! https://t.co/Lpb9IfPgJu @pix11news @PAPD911
— Francisco Moya (@FranciscoMoyaNY) July 1, 2018
Huerta was said to have suffered serious stab wounds, but was reportedly in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center. Cosme visited her and told the News that her injuries reach far beyond the physical ones she sustained.
“She’s healing, but she’s rattled,” Cosme told the News. “She’s still in pain, not just physically, but psychologically, too.”
Thanks to Urena, Abreu is in police custody and has been charged with assault, menacing, and weapons possession. Abreu has a recent history with domestic violence, including a June 1 incident where he tried to stab his wife and her 14-year-old daughter. He was charged with assault, harassment, and acting in a manner injurious to a child under the age of 17.