Detective Richard Jupinka was at a nearby table at Café Napoli around 1:50 p.m. on July 14 when he saw a 10-year-old girl choking as her uncle was trying to save her, Manchester Township Police said.
The uncle was unsuccessfully trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver, police said. The incident was caught on surveillance video inside the restaurant.
“At that point, Det. Jupinka assumed care of the child and through the use of the Heimlich Maneuver, he was able to quickly clear the food obstruction from the child’s airway,” the department said in a statement.
The child was then able to breathe normally, police said. The family declined medical attention and thanked Jupinka – a 19-year veteran – for intervening.
“Thankfully, one of our officers was in the right place at the right time,” Chief Robert Dolan said. “Had he not been there, this incident could have ended much differently.”
The day after Jupinka’s actions, a police officer from nearby Island Heights rescued a child from a hot car, NJ.com reported. The officer then arranged to help pay for the window he was forced to break.