Drummer Revived After Collapsing at Police Memorial in D.C.

A SWAT medic and others started CPR on the retired firefighter from Riverdale, Ill.


May 16--Still dressed in his honor guard uniform and carrying the American flag during a parade in Washington D.C. to honor officers killed in the line of duty, Orlando Police Lt. Douglas Goerke would never have guessed that his SWAT team paramedic training would be necessary at that moment.

But when a 63-year-old member of an Indiana pipes and drums band collapsed in front of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial on Wednesday, Goerke and another officer from Missouri jumped into action. Initially, Goerke thought Lito Lemus, a retired captain from a fire department in Riverdale, Il., was just reacting to the heat but he quickly realized that the man's heart had stopped.

"I was thinking 'you're not going to die here,'" said Goerke, a 13-year Orlando Police Department veteran who was in Washington D.C. for National Police Week.

Goerke and the Missouri officer alternated between CPR and using an automated external defibrillator to restart the man's heart.

"After the third shock, by the grace of God, he finally came back," Goerke said.

Lemus underwent emergency surgery to clear a blockage in his heart Wednesday night. He was stable condition Thursday afternoon.

dstennett@tribune.com or 407-420-5447

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