MTA employee from Dyker honored for saving fellow worker from attacker

A Dyker Heights resident who works for the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and who had saved the life of a fellow employee, was honored for his heroic act during a ceremony held on Friday, December 4 at 2 Broadway that acknowledged seven New York City Transit workers who performed acts of heroism.

“I was nominated to receive an award,” said Luis Salas, a collecting agent for the MTA. “At first, I had no knowledge of it. I don’t consider myself a hero at all.”

Salas risked his life by stopping an attack on a transit cleaner on Friday, March 13.

“It happened at 11 a.m. at the 103 Lexington Avenue station with an individual and a coworker,” Salas recalled. “It started out as a verbal match while I was performing my duties providing securities for individuals who provide service for the machines. The individual came down with the cleaner from the MTA then pushed and shoved him.”

Salas witnessed the cleaner running toward him with the attacker, who had a broken broomstick in his hand, in pursuit.

“He then went to the cleaner to stab him. I ordered maintenance to close the machine and then I unholstered my weapon when the defendant came at the cleaner,” he said. “I put myself between the cleaner and the assailant. Once the assailant saw that I had a gun, he ran from the area and took the train out.”

Salas immediately notified a collection supervisor as well as the NYPD of the incident. “Later, I was informed this individual had slashed two people’s faces and was apprehended,” he said.

Salas admitted he was nervous while performing his heroic act. “Sure you get nervous because it’s a decision you have to make fast. I didn’t wake up with the idea of drawing my weapon,” he said. “Besides my training and instincts, what was running through my mind is that I had to make a  decision fast or someone was going to lose his life. I could’ve lost mine in the process.”

Salas was thrilled to find out  that he was part of a select few chosen to be honored. “To be honest, I expected nothing out of it,” he said. “I was just fulfilled in helping a coworker. It was the boss’s decision. They are bombarded with work so to recognize my actions, felt great.”

During the ceremony, the Interim President of the MTA, James Ferrara, and other MTA officials acknowledged Salas and others that put their lives at risk every day. Salas, with his wife in attendance, received a certificate, a pin and a plaque.

“We’re proud of what he did,” noted Joseph Recupero, chief officer of collections. “He acted correctly and within the bounds of the law. He saved the life of the employee and we couldn’t be happier of outcome.”

“I look at the [award] every day and appreciate life more,” Salas added. “It’s a wake-up call. It’s great to know there are people out there that appreciate what we do.”

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