Police officers often risk their lives to save civilians on a daily basis. Most don't even give it a second thought. If an officer has a chance to save a life, they will take it.
A little after 1:30 in the afternoon, officers were sent out to Green Hill Park. They had received reports that three kids were screaming for help from a pond. One witness, Ayah Tanteh, called 911.
“Two kids were in the water trying to hold onto each other in the water when I got here, screaming that they couldn’t swim and that there was somebody else under.”Incident Witness
WPD officers and the Worcester Fire Department moved quickly to get to the pond. Upon arrival, they saw people in the water. Officers said in the middle of the water, there was a teen who was "reaching an arm up and struggling."
Officer Emmanuel Familia and four of his fellow officers ran to the water and jumped in to save the teens. Officers brought back two of the teens. However, Officer Familia and the boy had vanished.
Divers were able to find Officer Familia around 2:28 pm. He was unconscious when they pulled him from the water. UMass EMS began lifesaving measures and continued them all the way to the hospital.
Unfortunately he died at the hospital, WPD said. About an hour later divers also found the boy. He also was declared dead at the hospital. He was only 14.
A Tragic Loss
A total of seven divers helped in the search, one of which had injuries they were treated at the hospital for. The four officers who went into the water with Officer Familia were also checked out at the hospital.
“The city of Worcester has lost a hero. We will remember and honor his selfless devotion to Worcester and his ultimate sacrifice to save someone he didn’t know.”WPD Chief Steven Sargent
Familia became an officer in 2013 and joined the WPD in 2016. Familia leaves behind his wife and children, Jayla and Joven.
In a strong show of support, over 100 WPD officers went to Jovan's baseball game to watch him throw the first pitch. With the help of his uncle, the 13-year-old wrote his father's initials and badge number on the mound.
Officers are more than coworkers. They are a community and they rally together when they are needed, just like these officers did for Joven.