Heroic act: Off-duty Darien police officer saves choking woman's life
A recent anniversary party could have turned tragic versus celebratory had it not been for the quick-thinking actions of Darien Police Sgt. T.J. Moore.
A tip-off to The Darien Times told of Moore’s actions at a restaurant on Saturday, May 27, which he confirmed, as did the restaurant manager.
Moore was dining with his family and friends, including his in-laws, celebrating his mother-in-law’s birthday at La Hacienda Don Manuel in Suffern, New York.
“At the table next to us, there were nearly a dozen people at a party, and a woman stood up, grasping at her throat,” he said.
Recognizing the universal signs for choking, Moore observed also noticed the woman in her 60’s was having trouble talking — and without a second thought, Moore sprung into action.
“I performed the Heimlich maneuver on her — it took three or four times to perform it — and it ended up clearing her airway,” he said.
Moore noted that the group was a bit older and her fellow guests seemed frozen in shock when the woman began choking — none of them appeared to know what to do.
As Moore sat with the woman afterward, he said she was extremely grateful.
“She said, ‘Oh my God, I got so scared — I couldn’t breathe. Thank you,’” he said.
When the woman told him she was there to celebrate her anniversary, Moore lightened the mood by joking that now she’d be able to celebrate again the following year.
Moore explained his reaction by saying it was the result of his 15 years on the Darien police force.
“You always think about this stuff — it’s different than responding to the call. I was off duty, being there and seeing that. You are just doing what you are trained to do,” he said.
“It’s just ingrained in your brain — just reaction,” Moore said.
Moore’s father, Tom Moore, is a retired Connecticut state police officer who served stationed in Westport for 22 years, which provided him the opportunity to work with the Darien Police Department often.
He said he and Moore’s mother, Marilyn, were extremely proud of his actions — but he was not entirely surprised, having also the highest regard for the Darien Police Department.
When his son decided to join the police force, he was happy with the decision, but even happier he was working in Darien.
“Darien always had the highest-quality officers. When we had an incident in Darien, you always knew Darien was coming to back you up,” he said.
The elder Moore pointed out that they were most proud of the fact that his son could have simply called 911 — no one knew there he was a police officer. Instead, he took matters into his own hands.
“By the time an ambulance came, she could have been dead,” Moore’s father said.
“It just shows the quality of the people Darien hires — including my son — I’m sure any other Darien officers who had been there would have done the same,” he said.
Darien Police Chief Ray Osborne said he was “not surprised at all when I heard about this. Sgt. Moore is a true professional who is dedicated to his job whether he is on or off duty.”
“I certainly commend him for taking quick action and using his training and experience as a police officer to save a life,” Osborne said.
T.J. Moore pointed out that the incident took place in front of his children, 6 and 10, who he described as “in awe.”
“I told them it was all about being in the right place at the right time,” he said.
“His mother and I are extremely proud of him — and we’d like to think it shows how we brought him up,” Tom Moore said
“There is no better thing a police officer can say at the end of the day than ‘I saved someone’s life today — and not many can say that, “ Moore’s father said.