The city’s largest police union Thursday honored the four heroic NYPD officers who stopped the Manhattan bike path terrorist last Halloween — along with 49 other Finest who have distinguished themselves over the last year.
Officers Ryan Nash, Michael Welsome, Kevin McGinn and John Hasiotis all helped bring down Sayfullo Saipov, who plowed a rented truck down a bike path in the shadow of the World Trade Center, ramming into at least 20 people and killing eight.
“They rushed there in their radio cars, they rushed there by foot — some even left their families at home and rushed into work because we knew we were under attack again, so we say that word and that phrase quite easily, but it’s true: We do rush towards that danger, and we do it, once again, for folks we don’t even know,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said during the annual “Finest of the Finest” ceremony in Manhattan.
Nash and Hasiotis were responding to an unrelated call at nearby Stuyvesant High School when they got a call about a car crash. Upon arrival, Nash shot Saipov while Hasiotis secured the scene. Welsome and McGinn collected weapons that Saipov had been carrying.
“The award is very nice. I’m very honored, I’m humbled. It’s given from other police officers, which is really big. It’s a good part of this job that we get to salute the other officers that were involved in stuff and really show some respect there,” said Nash a five-year veteran.
“I appreciate it. I’m humbled by it,” said Michael Welsome, who has been with the department for 3 years.
Meanwhile, the union recognized a quick-thinking officer who saved a 2-month-old baby from choking on a baby wipe that a nanny had allegedly crammed down his throat.
While the city’s emergency responders were scrambling to a terror attack on Times Square last May, Matthew McGrath got a call about a choking baby.
He hustled to the scene and couldn’t figure out what was lodged in the child’s throat. Knowing ambulances and hospitals might soon be busy with Times Square victims, he rushed the baby to Bellevue in his patrol car.
“I knew that day over the radio transmissions that all the ambulances had triaged over there, so I knew it was essential to get the baby to the hospital as quick as possible,” the 30-year-old, four-year veteran said.
McGrath said he was “very honored” to receive the award.
“I’m more happy that the baby was able to survive,” he said. “I’m very honored that the baby is actually doing well.”
Babysitter Marianne Benjamin-Williams was charged with attempted murder, and McGrath occasionally sees the child when he’s in court trying to put away the nanny.
“The baby is doing very well and the baby has no problems after the incident,” he said. “[The parents] just thanked me for everything that I did, you know, and they really appreciate that I got there very quickly and was able to get the baby to the hospital so quick.”
Benjamin-Williams has pleaded “not guilty” in the ongoing case.