A coyote attacked a 5-year-old girl at a Westchester County playground — prompting a fearless off-duty cop to tackle and wrestle with the beast to save the child.
“It was a primal instinct. I was in a different mindset,” Irvington Police Officer Arcangelo Liberatore told The Post on Monday, crediting his training in jiu-jitsu with helping him restrain the animal.
Kasey King-Petrellese said she and her two children were near the baseball field at James Carroll Park in Mount Pleasant at 4 p.m. Sunday when the animal darted at full speed toward them and then chomped down on her daughter Natalia’s left arm.
“It lunged at us,” said King-Petrellese, 36, of Hawthorne. “The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘They go for little things.’
“My son was the smallest, so I picked him up and grabbed [my daughter] by the arm. I kicked [the coyote] right in its face as hard as I could, and he fell down and stumbled a bit.”
But the kick didn’t stop the wild animal from latching onto Natalia and trying to drag her away as her mother screamed in horror.
Liberatore — who was at the park with his wife and two kids — heard the mom’s screams and ran to help.
The quick-thinking officer said he jumped on the coyote and held it down as he punched it “to daze it” while also trying to suffocate it to keep it from injuring anyone else.
“I just made sure my gravity was kind of low and just kind of squeezed the heck out of it. I was basically strangling it,” he said.