S.C. officer, 29, has heart attack chasing suspect

JESSICA VANEGEREN, The Post and Courier

Copyright 2006 The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
All Rights Reserved 

A 29-year-old Charleston police officer was revived Wednesday after suffering a heart attack while chasing a suspect near the railroad tracks between Line and Columbus streets in downtown Charleston.

The officer, Justin Sicheri, was working his off-duty security job at the nearby Piggly Wiggly on Meeting Street when a call from dispatch said that a man carrying a gun was walking down Line Street, police said. Sicheri and another officer approached 20-year-old Curtis Rivers Jr., who ran, jumped a fence and ran through the loading dock area of The Post and Courier at 134 Columbus St.

Rivers was arrested and charged with the unlawful carrying of a firearm and the unlawful carrying of a firearm by someone under 21. Charles Francis, a police spokesman, said Rivers had two outstanding warrants.

Sicheri was taken to a local hospital after three members of the Charleston Fire Department used an automatic external defibrillator to save his life.

"The guy was unconscious and wasn't breathing," said Chief Rusty Thomas. "We were there in a minute and a half. They put it to work and saved somebody's life."

Charleston interim police Chief Ned Hethington said Sicheri was sitting up in a bed and was in good spirits Wednesday afternoon.

Hethington said Sicheri didn't remember anything about the chase.

Reach Jessica Vanegeren at 937-5562 or jvanegeren@postandcourier.com 
January 26, 2006

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