FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The BSO deputy credited with saving the life of a Key Biscayne police officer after she was shot by a gunman on the Florida Turnpike met the media Monday along with other high-ranking police officials.
BSO deputy Osvaldo Petitfrere rushed Officer Nelia Real to Memorial Regional Hospital after she was shot by David Bradley on Thursday, May 10th.
“Everybody is calling me a hero and what not, I was just doing what everybody else would have done, any other law enforcement officer would done,” said Petitfrere.
While he may be uncomfortable with the hero title, he will always be the man who saved the life of Real.
“She was bleeding a lot, what kept running through my head was ‘I don’t want her to die right here on my hands’,” said Petitfrere.
Officer Real was off-duty and headed home on the Turnpike when she saw a car crash near the Hollywood Boulevard exit. When she stopped to help, gunman David Bradley shot her. She hadn’t even gotten out of her cruiser when the gunman’s bullet pierced her window and struck her in the jaw. Being an experienced officer, she knew she had to keep the bleeding under control.
Moments after Real was shot, Deputy Petitfrere came upon the scene and jumped immediately into action.
“He arrived on that chaotic scene and saw the officer down. He focused and reacted and did what he had to do,” said Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti. “Was it instinct, was it training or was it pure adrenaline? He applied pressure to her neck and at the same time he fired at the dangerous suspect, knowing and realizing the injuries were life threatening.”
“She made it easy because she applied pressure to the wound herself,” said Petitfrere who tried to stayed focused. “Okay, just look for the bad guy right now, that was what I was doing.”
Petitfrere has a military background and said he knew he had to get her to the hospital quickly. So he put her into his patrol car and took her to Memorial Regional Hospital.
Petitfrere said the ride seemed to take forever.
“It felt like half an hour,” laughed Petitfrere, “But in reality, I would say 7minutes.”
The deputy said he knows he helped save a life but to him the real heroes are those who paid the ultimate price protecting others.
“Those who are not here any more, they’re heroes in my eyes,” said Petitfrere. “People that die in the line of duty, military, law enforcement. Those are my heroes.”
Key Biscayne Police Chief Charlie Press said Officer Real continues to recover at the hospital.
“She is doing much better on a long road but a sure road to recovery and we are very thankful for that,” said Press. “My thanks today are truly to these heroes from BSO, ICE who saw one of my officers and didn’t think twice of putting their lives on the line to help.”
Federal ICE agent Gabriel Martinez, who was also off-duty and on his way home, also stopped when he saw the wreck and was shot in the arm as he tried to confront Bradley.
Martinez has since been released from the hospital.
Police said Bradley had been involved in a carjacking and robbery in Pembroke Pines before he crashed a stolen vehicle on the Turnpike and began firing at the officers.
The violent crime spree ended when Bradley, who walked past startled, grid-locked motorists, shot and killed himself on the Turnpike.
A third law enforcement officer, BSO Deputy Enid Conley, who wrecked her cruiser while on her way to the shootings and suffered a broken leg, was released from the hospital on Monday, according to Sheriff Lamberti.
“Today is about these brave officers. This whole incident could have been so much more tragic but the willingness of these officers to react, they all did such an outstanding job,” said FBI spokesman Tim Donovan.