Off-duty officer tackles stabbing suspect after hearing woman’s cries for help

Posted at 8:55 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 20:55:09-04

Queens, New York (WPIX) — An off-duty Port Authority police officer sprang into action Saturday and detained an alleged stabber after he was woken up by a woman’s cries for help, officials said.

Officer Giovanni Urena, 34, was asleep in his Corona apartment Saturday afternoon after his shift at LaGuardia Airport when he heard a woman scream outside.

“Help me! Help me!” she screamed in Spanish, according to a Port Authority Police Department spokesperson.

Urena woke up, looked out his window and saw a bleeding woman and a knife-wielding man, officials said.

“My first instinct was to help the lady out. I couldn’t let her die,” Urena said. “I just couldn’t let him get away.”

He pulled on a pair of jeans, ran outside and chased the alleged stabber down 39th Street. Urena was barefoot and didn’t have a weapon or cellphone.

Urena tackled the man to the ground, he said. He told a nearby pedestrian to call 911 and stayed there until NYPD officers took the man into custody.

Benito Abreu, 61, was charged with assault, menacing and criminal possession of a deadly weapon, police said.

The woman suffered serious stab wounds. She’s in stable condition at a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Neighbor Pedro Ortiz praised Urena.

“God bless him,” he said. “Not too many would do that, especially when they are off duty. Some people would just turn the cheek.”