Off-duty police officer saves child from coyote attack

Posted: Updated:
THORNWOOD -

An off-duty Irvington police officer saved a child from a coyote attack in Thornwood Sunday.

Irvington police officer Arcangelo Liberatore was off duty and enjoying a relaxing day with his family at Carroll Park in Thornwood, until he spotted a coyote. He, his wife and his children quickly got up and ran for their car.

Over his shoulder, Liberatore saw the coyote attacking a young girl, 5-year-old Natalia Petrellese.

Petrellese and her mother were in a playground when the coyote attacked, biting through Petrellese’s jacket.

Liberatore sprang into action, putting his weight on the coyote’s chest and wrestling the coyote against a garbage can.

Five minutes later, Mount Pleasant police officers arrived and shot and killed the coyote.

Liberatore said the coyote “turned and just acted like a rabid dog.”

“I've never seen an animal charge like that,” he said.

Liberatore and Petrellese are both recovering from their injuries.

Kasey King-Petrellese, the child’s mother, said of Liberatore’s actions, “It was extremely noble and courageous, and I don't know what would have happened if he didn't come and help us.”

The coyote's body is currently with the county Department of Health for rabies testing.

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