Heart Attack Survivor Meets Capitol Cop Who Saved His Life

Simons, right, meets with Langston, left, Tuesday on the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Simons, right, meets with Langston, left, Tuesday on the Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted May 12, 2015 at 3:51pm

Twelve months after Gary Langston collapsed outside the Hart Senate Office Building, the Indianapolis man got to shake hands with the Capitol Police officer who saved his life. “I wouldn’t be here,” the 61-year-old president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association marveled at a Tuesday afternoon meeting with Officer Nicholas Simons in Rep. André Carson’s office. The Indiana Democrat helped connect the 28-year-old officer with Langston, who said he comes to Washington about twice a year, after an October lunch meeting had to be canceled due to a family tragedy. On May 7, 2014 , Simons responded to a pedestrian’s report that a man appeared to be having a heart attack on the sidewalk. He hustled outside and found Langston reclined on a big stone bench along Constitution Avenue, quivering. When Langston’s breathing stopped, Simons sprang into action, performing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator, provided by one of his fellow officers, to jolt Langston’s heart back into rhythm.  

“I really appreciate life … but it’s not until you have a close call like that that you really appreciate life,” Langston said. “I have a couple little kids, and when I got back home and realized that I almost never went back home, that’s when I really realized what it was all about. … You just don’t know what to say to that person, other than, ‘thanks.'”  

Inspired by his brush with death, Langston organized a CPR training at his office. “I hope I never have to use it,” he added.  

In February, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund recognized Simons as “Officer of the Month” for his heroic actions. Tuesday’s visit coincided with National Police Week, which draws more than 25,000 attendees to D.C.  

“I was nervous as anyone would be,” Simons told CQ Roll Call last year, a day after the incident. “But I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to get such training and skills that the department has given me and other officers. … Somehow that takes over and the repetition really does mean something.”