A Memphis police officer is being heralded as a hero and an angel for stopping a suicidal teen father from jumping off a Tennessee bridge.
Officer Tina Shaw is a 15-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department. Shaw is a member of the MPD's Crisis Intervention Team, and she sprang into action when there was a distressed teen contemplating suicide on the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River.
"The Spirit just led me to go there to see what was going on there and who all was there," Officer Shaw proclaimed.
Shaw said of the 17-year-old, "I got out, and at this point, he was already over the ledge. He was hanging over the ledge, and then he finally went all the way over. Turned his body facing the water."
"Time was of the essence … we didn't want him to make one wrong move," she explained. "I kept asking him, 'Hey, can I come help you? Can I get you down?'"
The young father was reportedly worried about his job and the pressures of life.
"I said, 'Son, it’s gonna be OK. God gonna get you through this,'" Shaw told the young father. "'It's gonna be OK,' and he was crying, and I shed a few tears."
She consoled the teen. "He was pretty much crying out for help, and I saw it in his eyes, and I was telling him, 'Hey, look, your son needs you. There is no you without him, and there is no him without you.'"
"He was crying, and I saw the fear in his eyes," Shaw added. "I was telling him about me being a mother, I think that's what kind of drove him home."
After about 15 minutes, Officer Shaw convinced the teen to step away from the edge of the bridge.
"He was crying when I helped him get down," the mother of two recalled. "It's like we immediately just hugged each other. A few tears roll down my eyes while his were still flowing. It was like a mother and son, as if he was my third child, my third son."
Shaw said that she received help from above to save the suicidal young man. Shaw professed, "I know it just wasn’t me, it was God in me."
The teen was reunited with his family and taken to a facility for help. She said that she had spoken to the teen's mom and plans to reconnect with her "third son."
The Memphis cop stated, "This is one of the reasons why I'm also a police officer. To help people who are suicidal, mentally ill, whether it's ADHD, suicide, or bipolar schizophrenic situations."
She remarked, "People were saying I'm a superhero, I'm an angel, and I appreciate all that dearly, I really do. Because this is something that I normally do every day that kind of get unnoticed. I'm OK with that because I signed up to be a CIT officer. I just tried to display the transparency of officers versus being a human being."
Shaw pointed out, "In spite all the negativity, there are quite a bit of officers on this department that are great."
When asked about how the photo of her hugging the teen makes her feel, Shaw told WREG-TV, "Joy, joy. It was the best feeling in the world."
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