Metro-East News

‘He's back! Keep breathing, bro!’: Cop credited with saving lives at strip club

A metro-east police officer says his training allowed him to keep his adrenalin in check while providing lifesaving aid during a fentanyl scare at a Brooklyn strip club.

But Officer Matthew Garrett said he’s no hero, and that he doesn’t deserve all the credit.

“It was a group effort. And that night was a prime example of why we’re trained the way we are,” Garrett said. “My training kicked in and I was able to take control of the situation.”

On July 6, police and rescue crews were called to Roxy’s Exotic Club. They arrived to find three people unconscious. Police have said they believe fentanyl caused them to lose consciousness — possibly overdoses.

A body camera on Garrett showed him giving aid to one man who was unconscious.

“He was not breathing and he didn’t have a pulse. He was laying there with his eyes wide open. He didn’t have a heart rate. He was laying there staring at nothing,” Garrett said.

Garrett used a bag-type resuscitation device on the man.

“He’s breathing! He’s back!” Garrett can be heard saying on the video. “Take some breaths! Take some breaths, bro! Keep breathing, bro!”

The two other unconscious people also were revived. One was a woman who worked at the club, and one was a man in a bathroom.

The man in the bathroom, Garrett said, was breathing faintly.

“I gave an officer a (CPR) mask and told him to start administering CPR. If he hadn’t gotten help, he would’ve passed out. He was breathing faintly,” Garrett said.

An Illinois State Police trooper administered Narcan, a medicine that counteracts overdoses, to the woman. Garrett instructed the trooper to also give Narcan to the man in the bathroom.

A colleague, Brooklyn Detective Sgt. Marcus Smith, said Garrett undoubtedly saved lives.

“He saved that man’s life and totally handled the scene like a pro,” Smith said. “It is without a doubt in my mind — based on my 20 years of experience as an emergency room nurse and 18 years in law enforcement — that Officer Garrett’s actions on that night saved lives.

Garrett, another officer and an emergency medical technician also ended up needing treatment at a hospital. Police have said the three might have accidentally been exposed to fentanyl.

Contrary to some media reports, Garrett said, the police and medical worker were not “rushed” to hospitals. Garrett said he left the scene and followed the ambulance to the hospital in case he needed to answer any questions about the matter.

“While I was driving, I started feeling lightheaded and woozy,” he said. “My body temperature started rising. I felt like I was close to falling out.”

At the hospital, Garret said, he was given some fluids and was released in about an hour and a half.

“The other officer didn’t need to go to the hospital, but I told him to get checked out since he was in the club, too. He came back just fine,” Garrett said. “An EMT (emergency medical technician) had the same symptoms as I had.”

Garrett said he knows he came in contact with something, probably fentanyl, but he doesn’t know how he came in contact with it because he was wearing gloves when he handled a substance that was suspected to be drugs. He also wore a mask when he was administering CPR, he said.

The manager found a powdery substance that looked like cocaine, Garrett noted.

Garrett said he’s glad everyone was OK afterward.

“We’re constantly being preached to about integrity, and leadership from our chief of police, Tom Jeffery,” Garrett said. ““It’s training. Brooklyn puts us through a large amount of training.”

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