HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Two days after HCC Police Officer April Pikes was nearly killed in a stabbing as she worked an off-duty security job at a Meyerland Walmart, she is recovering, her condition upgraded to stable.
Out of ICU now, the 24-year-old was directing family to use her checks to pay her rent and other bills. That's the kind of person she is.
She had a visit Thursday from Sheriff Adrian Garcia and Precinct 6 Constable Martinez, displaying her trademark smile and thanking them for their support and well-wishes. That's also the kind of person friends say she is.
Pikes was stabbed 14 times in the arm, chest and leg, by a large hunting knife. She was bleeding out when several customers came to her rescue, disarming her assailant.
What helped save her were police officers who beat paramedics to the store. They're now equipped with "buddy packs," essentially emergency field medical kits to use on officers when they're shot, or in Pikes' case, stabbed.
"I want to thank the citizens who ran to her aid, while others might have run away," said HCC Police Chief Greg Cunningham. "The officers used a new kind of tourniquet and a chest seal. It's new, and best of all, they were trained how to use them."
It bought her time to make it to the hospital. After that, Ben Taub's trauma team performed a six-hour surgery. For the first day, there was concern that Pikes might lose the arm that had been badly stabbed. But then, we're told, circulation returned.
For Lt. John Brook, Pikes was also a former student from her academy class. It was especially hard to see her as she was wheeled into an ambulance.
He also saw Jeremiah Matthews, later charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer. "He was calm and quiet," Brook said. Asked if we wanted to say something to him, Brook replied, "No, that's where my training comes in."
The attack, Chief Cunningham says, was unprovoked. "Often you can see it coming, by something they say or do as you're approached. There was nothing like that in this case."
Pikes has a road to travel in her recovery. Still, friends say she wants to return to her career. Fredrick Portis is a colleague. "I have no doubt she'll be back. She has a philosophy - bend, but don't break. She'll be back."
To help with her bills and help family now staying at the medical center to be near her, the HCC Police Department is collecting donations through "Assist the Officer." It's a program operated through the Houston Police Officers Union.
Donations can be sent to:
Assist the Officer
1600 State St
Houston, TX 77007
Donations should be marked "April Pikes." All donations are tax-deductible.
Quick-thinking cops credited with saving officer's life