NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An NYPD officer went from pursuing a suspect to saving that suspect’s life.

Sgt. James Gebhard’s day went from fighting crime to saving a life in late September, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reports.

He was called to a CVS on the Upper East Side after a man had stuffed a suitcase with stolen goods and threatened employees as he ran out the door.

“On the way there, we were flagged down by a employee of CVS who stated he was chasing the guy who stole from them and he went up Lexington toward 66th Street,” Gebhard said.

Police say they went in that direction and mid-block on 66th, they spotted a man lying unconscious on the ground.

“He was absolutely dead when I arrived,” Gebhard said.

He fit the description of the suspect, but Gebhard says at that point, helping the man was all that mattered.

“Feel for a pulse, look for breathing, feel for a pulse again on his chest and his neck, and nothing, he’s completely out. I roll him over on his back and immediately started CPR,” Gebhard said.

He radioed for help, asking for a defibrillator to be brought to the scene.

“I felt a weak pulse. We hooked up the defibrillator and he went out again. He passed away again,” Gebhard said.

The sergeant performed CPR again and brought him back to life a second time.

“He came back this time strong, strong pulse, breathing,” he said.

Police say after the man was taken to the hospital, they used surveillance video from the CVS to confirm he was their suspect and later arrested him.

The men saw each other again a few days later when the suspect came in for fingerprinting.

“He shook my hand and thanked me,” Gebhard said. “He’s like, thanks for saving my life … He was a person in crisis in front of me. Whether or not he just committed a crime or not, that doesn’t matter. You gotta bring him back.”

The sergeant says this was the first time he’s ever had to use his CPR training.

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