A local New York City Police Department officer has another reason to be considered a hero.
Peter Cybulski, 25, a Flanders resident and Riverhead High School graduate, was a first responder when a Bronx man drove his car into pedestrians Thursday in Times Square, killing one and injuring 22.
Last summer, Mr. Cybuslski was also honored for his heroics during a bomb scare in the same area.
As soon as the emergency call came over the radio Thursday, Mr. Cybulski was nearby and ran to the scene.
“I could just hear screams and cries and people yelling for help,” he said in an interview Friday.
Once he knew the suspect — later identified as 26-year-old Richard Rojas — was in custody, he ran to 43rd Street and 7th Avenue where there were injured people lying on the ground, bleeding, crying and yelling for help.
“There were about 10 people near me that were injured — I just started going over to each one and trying to assess which ones needed the most the help,” he said, adding that he was near the 18-year-old Michigan woman who was killed.
Mr. Cybulski also saw that her mother was in shock as he moved quickly to help treat the victims.
He was the first person to reach a man who suffered a serious head injury. Mr. Cybulski said he put a neck brace on him and controlled his bleeding as other first responders arrived. A woman with that victim was crying and Mr. Cybulski said he tried to comfort her and give those at the scene a sense of protection.
“Stay calm,” he told them. “We’re here. We’re going to help you. We’re not going anywhere.”
Mr. Cybulski moved to another woman who was lying on the ground and going in and out of consciousness. He tried to stop her bleeding as best he could and assisted emergency personnel to put splints on others who had broken bones.
“It was tough,” Mr. Cybulski said. “It was hard to see, but that’s the hardest part about being a first responder. You have to hold your emotions in. You can’t let it take control of you.”
At the same time, he hoped there would be no additional threat.
During the rescue efforts, he also encountered off-duty firefighters, emergency medical service workers and doctors, as well as people who had no emergency or medical experience rushing to help.
They had one goal — help as many people as possible.
“In times of sadness and difficult times, it’s nice to see everyone working together,” he said.
Courtesy photo: NYC Police Officer Peter Cybulski was honored at MetLife Stadium in December.