GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Green Island officials honored two men Monday night for coming to the rescue of an officer while he was being attacked.
“I really didn’t know what I was getting into,” Christopher Cosgrove said. “I thought it was an accident, and it was quite different.”
Cosgrove was on his way home from work on June 20.
“I saw the guy hit the back of the police officer and run towards him,” he described.
Volunteer firefighter Robert Coffey was also on his way home from work that day.
“We stopped to just see what had happened with the accident,” he said.
Police said Officer William Rice was in his police car when 29-year-old Vincent Knowles, of Troy, intentionally hit him from behind.
“At that point, I just thought it was a simple traffic accident and someone just veered off and struck me,” Rice said.
Rice was still in a daze from the impact when his car door swung open.
“As soon as the door opened, he basically just jumped in screaming, ‘Kill me. I want to die,’” Rice recalled.
Cosgrove and Coffey did not know each other, but they both went to Rice’s aid when they heard the officer call out for help.
“He needed help, so we did it,” Coffey said. “I didn’t think about it.”
Cosgrove said he helped push Knowles down and helped him get handcuffed while Knowles was pinned to the ground.
Other first responders then arrived and took control of the scene all while traffic continued as normal.
“A lot of traffic on the road, and it’s funny, out of all that only two people stopped,” Rice said.
Green Island Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan was on hand to honor the two men.
“We live in a world where people don’t want to be involved in anything. They want to stay their distance,” she said.
Coffey and Cosgrove said they were just glad they were able to help.
“I’m glad we could be there to help him, and I think other people should do that more,” Coffey said.
“I was glad to be there,” Cosgrove said. “Just the right place at the right time.”
Rice said the men’s involvement could have been the difference between him living or not.
“I think what would have happened, either I would have been killed or [Knowles] would have been killed,” Rice said.
Rice is still seeking treatment for his injuries, and Knowles has since bonded out of jail.