Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie will spend the rest of his life recovering from the injuries he suffered in a savage knife attack on Aug. 12 at the Chautauqua Institution in New York state.
The fact that he survived at all is due in large part to the work of a skilled firefighter and paramedic from Greater Cleveland's Italian American community. University Heights Fire Captain Peter Pucella had just arrived at the Chautauqua amphitheater when Rushdie, 75, who was being introduced for a program on free speech, was attacked by a man who rushed the stage. "Just as we entered, I heard an audible gasp," he said. "People were already jumping on stage."
Pucella also ran to the stage, where a "pile of guys" was still fighting to subdue the knife-wielding assailant and