On Saturday, June 23, 2018, at about 9:45 pm, Sgt Andy Dakuras responded to a call for help. Sgt though this would be a typical call, but this one turned into something these officers will never forget. The radio assignment came out as a cry for help in a high rise in the River North area. Sgt Dakuras responded first and was directed to the 31st floor. As he exited the elevators he could hear shouting and a woman‘s blood curdling screams “PLEASE HELP, HE IS KILLING ME, PLEASE HELP!”
Inside the apartment was a 27-year-old female screaming for help. The Sergeant pounded on the door and yelled “Police Department, Open Up”! The screams continued. The Sergeant tried to force his way inside. He used his shoulder, and finally after numerous kicks, the door opened and he followed the screams. He walked through the hallway and came upon something he has never ever seen in all his years on the job. In the kitchen, he discovered a woman on the floor sitting upright with a man sitting directly behind her with his forearm around her neck, choking the woman.
What was most startling was that the man was biting the flesh off of the woman’s cheek and face. The Sergeant ordered the man to let her go and used force to get the man to stop but the man was in an altered state of mind with a look in his eyes that the Sergeant has never seen before. The Sergeant tried to pull the man off of the woman and used every force tactic to get him to let her go, but the man persisted in his death grip. The Sergeant could literally see the woman’s life was being choked out of her in front of his eyes. As a last resort, the Sergeant grabbed his pepper spray and discharged it, the entire can into the mouth of the assailant. This worked allowing the man to unleash the woman and causing him to lean back onto the floor.
The Sergeant told the woman to get away and could now see more clearly the damage the man had inflicted on her. Not only had the man been eating at her face, he had bit her ear halfway off. The Sergeant had to subdue the man and worked to cuff him but the man would not give in. The Sergeant described it as a high school wrestling match rolling on the floor with the Sergeant able to get one hand cuffed on the man yet he would still not surrender.
At one point during the six-minute struggle, the man bit down on the forearm of the Sergeant. The Sergeant used every tactic to get him to release his jaw that included pressure points to various parts of his head including his eye sockets, but the man was crazed and wouldn’t let go. It was only after the Sergeant cut off his airflow through his nose that the madman finally opened his mouth for air allowing the Sergeant to free his arm from the man’s locked jaw.
Finally, help arrived when Officers J. Norwood Jr and J. Rodriguez III of the Summer Mobile force barged into the apartment and took up the fight. Still then, the man would not give up and tucked his hands under his body not allowing the officers to secure and cuff him. The officers finally handcuffed the man who was taken to Northwestern for treatment. The woman was also taken to Northwestern where she was in serious condition. It was later learned that while the Sergeant and the man were wrestling on the floor, the man kept trying to move toward another room in the apartment, where he had placed his loaded 38 caliber handgun. We are grateful the Sergeant restrained him, not allowing the man to get to his gun or we would be facing another tragedy.
These officers answered the call for help like thousands of Chicago Police officers do every day. In this case, the Sergeant’s quick thinking and actions certainly saved the life of this woman. While these are not cases we see every day, they represent the skilled training that officers use to solve problems and change lives. Had the Sergeant not acted immediately, the woman may have been another homicide victim. It is with great pride we make Sgt Andy Dakuras, Officer John Norwood Jr and Officer Julio Rodriguez III, our officers of the month presented by Galls.