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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / El Monte council honors police officers for saving boy’s life

El Monte council honors police officers for saving boy’s life

by Joe Taglieri
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The El Monte City Council on Tuesday commended police officers for providing life-saving aid to a boy who was choking.

El Monte Police Department Officers Raul Vega and Dennis Chiu along with Cpl. Carlos Tello responded June 3 to an emergency call and found 8-year-old Ethan Cante unconscious because his airways were blocked by a piece of candy, according to the city. Chiu provided Vega with a LifeVac anti-choking device to clear the child’s airways and save his life.

Vega credited his fellow officers and the training they received, along with a little luck for the successful use of the portable anti-choking device.

“Our police department supplied 200 of these to our patrol officers and to city employees, and this is a life saver,” Vega said in a statement. “For 60 to 70 dollars this is going to save someone’s life.”  

Vega’s use of the LifeVac to revive the boy was the first time the device was used since the police department purchased the devices in April, officials said.

Body camera footage shows El Monte police applying a LifeVac device to clear the airway of local youth Ethan Cante. | Photo courtesy of the city of El Monte

“I am proud of our officers who were able to utilize the device and save the life of a child in a matter of seconds,” El Monte Police Chief Jake Fisher said in a statement. “By equipping our officers with LifeVac we are taking a crucial step in improving our emergency response capabilities. Investments in tools like these are critical to our Department as our Officers are better equipped and trained to save lives in critical moments when every second counts.”

Ethan Cante and his mother Vanessa Becerra-Aguayo attended the council ceremony Tuesday evening in which Vega, Chiu and Tello received a city Life Saving Award.

El Monte police dispatchers Veronica Chacon and Sandra Gonzalez received official commendations “for their critical and professional response” as officers arrived at the scene of the emergency.

“I can’t even imagine what that call must have felt like, knowing that many of you have children as well,” Mayor Jessica Ancona told Chacon and Gonzalez. “But you sprung into action and you gave the appropriate direction that led to saving the life of this young boy.”

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