New York, NY – This past holiday season, 32-year-old Correction Officer Jahi Semple stepped into a decidedly non-festive situation on the LIRR — and his quick thinking and courageous actions may have averted multiple injuries and even saved lives.
The Queens County resident was traveling off-duty on the Long Island Railroad at around 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 14th, 2019 — when he heard cries for help from an adjoining car. Rushing to lend aid, Semple discovered one man bleeding profusely from his leg and another man with a knife reportedly shouting, “This is how you treat white people.”?
“There was blood all over the place,” Semple says.“I didn’t know if [the knife] was open or not. [The perpetrator] said he wouldn’t give up his knife — he [just] kept saying, ‘It’s my right — It’s my right.’”
There was another police officer there, according to Semple. But like him, he was not armed or carrying handcuffs. Despite the risks, Semple moved in and somehow disarmed the knife-wielding man.?
“I finally got the knife off him,” the three-year Correction Officer says. “About five minutes later, an NYPD Police Sergeant came and gave me handcuffs. I put them on [the suspect] and put him in the police car. An ambulance came and an EMT took away the victim – he went to the hospital for his stab wound.”
Semple had a sixteen-hour shift the next day — and despite being “really tired after that night” — he reported for duty and went about his day.
In February, Mayor Bill DeBlasio commended Semple and publicly thanked him for his bravery.
“Unfortunately, someone was not in the spirit of the season,” Hizzoner said. “Officer Semple was off-duty [but] that didn’t matter — he leapt to action.”
Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) President Elias Husamudeen said Semple’s “quick-thinking and courageous actions undoubtedly helped save the lives of the passengers on that LIRR car.”
“His lack of concern for his own safety in the face of danger embodies the boldness of all New York City Correction Officers,” Husamudeen added. “On behalf of the men and women of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, we’re proud to salute him for his brave efforts to bring the knife-wielding man into custody.”