MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — A Memphis police officer is being called a hero after her comforting words stopped a young father from jumping into the Mississippi River on February 2. She eventually reunited him with his family and sent him to a facility where he can get help.
It’s been said a picture is worth a thousand words, but for officer Tina Shaw, this image brings one word to mind: “Joy,” she said.
It’s a joyful moment she’ll never forget. She uttered these words as the two held on to each other on the side of the icy bridge. “I said, ‘Son, it’s going to be okay. God gonna get you through this,'” Shaw said. “‘It’s gonna be OK,’ and he was crying. And I shed a few tears.”
A 15-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department, Shaw is on its crisis intervention team. As most of the department rushed to East Memphis to the scene of an officer-involved shooting, she stayed behind and headed to help the 17-year-old.
“The spirit led me to go ahead,” Shaw said. “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.”
Shaw said that the teen cries while talking about the struggle of being a young father and the pressures of his life. “He was pretty much crying out for help, and I saw it in his eyes, and I was telling him ‘Hey, your son needs you. There is no you without him, and there is no him without you,'” she said.
A mother with two young sons, Shaw convinced him not to jump off the Interstate-40 bridge said after 15 minutes. “I actually had to lift his leg over and he grabbed me by my shoulder, and after he came back on the other side, we just immediately hugged each other,” she said.
When asked how it feels to have thousands of people calling her a hero during a time when the police department is under scrutiny, Shaw said, “It was the best feeling in the world. Despite all the negativity, there are quite a bit of officers on this department that are great.”
Shaw said she has been talking with the teen’s mother and looks forward to meeting with him soon. In the meantime, she said organizations have already come forward to help with different services, including education and job placement.