Mo. Officers Save Ex-Colleague who Suffered 'Widow Maker' Heart Attack

Nov. 3, 2023
Nearly a dozen St. Charles police officers sprang into action and performed CPR and used a portable defibrillator at least three times to help save a former colleague who suffered a massive heart attack.

A group of Missouri police officers are being praised for their efforts last month helping to save a former colleague who suffered a cardiac emergency.

The incident happened Sept. 11 after Dean Alexander, a retired St. Charles police officer, had completed a short physical fitness test for the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department, KMOV-TV reports. Alexander, 55, began talking with several law enforcement friends for about a half hour, and he started to become light-headed as he walked away. 

“I heard something hit the fence, and a body hit the ground and it was Dean,” said St. Charles Police Lt. Pat Sykes. “I turned to look and honestly thought he passed out; Dean fainted. I immediately ran over to Dean and realized he wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse.”

Nearly a dozen officers sprang into action when Alexander went down. They quickly performed CPR and began to look for a defibrillator.

The officers took turns with CPR and using a portable defibrillator. They shocked Alexander at least three times before medics reached the scene and shocked Alexander a fourth time as he was loaded onto an ambulance.

“I think we lost him at least once before the medics got there,” said Sykes. “I remember three times specifically, where the third time was what really got me and I thought, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to get him back this time.’”

Alexander was rushed to the hospital, where he had several stints put in. His doctors say he suffered a "widow maker" heart attack, which means his left ascending artery suffered a full blockage.

“If they hadn’t caught it when they did, if they hadn’t initiated CPR and the AED immediately, there’s a 6% chance of survival rate when that one goes,” said Alexander.

The St. Charles police officers and paramedics were honored at a ceremony Wednesday. Sykes says the experience put things in perspective for him. 

“It makes it really hard to think that, whether you wanted it to or not, your friend just died in front of you, and you’re one of the people responsible for whether he lives or dies,” he said. “That’s a very emotional thing to go through.”

About the Author

Joe Vince

Joining Endeavor Business Media in 2018, Joe has worked on the company's city services publications. He began working at as the assistant editor. Before starting at Endeavor, Joe had worked for a variety of print and online news outlets, including the Indianapolis Star, the South Bend Tribune, Reddit and

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