Alyssa Vogel, the police officer who saved the 4-year-old during Saturday’s shooting in New York’s Times Square, credits her “instinct” for her quick-thinking actions.
When she arrived at the scene on Saturday afternoon, Vogel quickly pulled the tourniquet off her gun belt and applied it to the little girl’s leg.
“After that, Officer Sparta and I started searching her for other gunshot wounds, to make sure that was the only one,” Vogel told Good Morning America on Monday. “When it was determined that was the only one, I had the instinct to pick her up and run her to the ambulance down that block, and that’s when I sprinted with her.”
She said that hearing a child had been shot “was definitely more nerve-wracking because you don’t know where she was shot, or if it was true if she was OK. I didn’t know the circumstances. So as a mom, I think my motherly instincts went to, I need to help her.”
The 4-year-old girl, who had been toy shopping with her family, was one of three victims who were wounded in the shooting. Multiple witnesses told police that the shooting stemmed from a group of men who were fighting on the street.
New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea said the three victims were unknown to one another and were innocent bystanders hit by the gunfire.
Vogel called the little girl from Brooklyn “the strongest person” she has ever seen.
“For somebody who has just been shot, she was just standing there, obviously scared, but she wasn’t crying or anything. She only yelled when we were tightening the tourniquet because that’s very painful. But she was very calm for somebody who was in a very traumatic situation,” she said.
Vogel said the girl’s mom, dad and aunt were with her and had been “very upset and traumatized by the whole situation.” The family followed Vogel and her partner as they ran to the ambulance and the mom rode the ambulance with her daughter.
The 4-year-old underwent surgery and is expected to recover.
“I just wanted to get her to the hospital,” Vogel said. “During that time my partner had yelled there was an ambulance down the block. Through my mind, I was just, she needs to get to the hospital. When there is a gunshot wound up on your thigh, there are arteries, and you didn’t know if an artery was hit or not. So I was just wanting to make sure she got to the hospital as soon as possible.”
As of Monday morning, the NYPD is still looking for the accused person of interest, Farrahkah Muhammad.