A Miami police officer is being praised for saving the life of a man in crisis who tried to commit suicide by jumping in a river.
The incident happened Saturday when Officer Lucas Pereira and his partner responded to a call Saturday at Spring Garden Point Park about an erratically acting man who was threatening to harm himself, WTVJ-TV reports. The man also was severely injured and was exhibiting symptoms of mental illness.
“There was a vagrant male acting erratically at the park, with his organs exposed, hanging from his body, open sores,” said Pereira, explaining what he and his partner were told when they reached the scene.
The individual then plunged into the Miami River, and the officers yelled at him to swim to shore. When he ignored their pleas, they threw a life preserver, but he ignored it.
Finally, Pereira, who spent his childhood in Brazil near the ocean, took off his gear and jumped in the river after the man.
“He was unconscious under the water when I grabbed him, when I got close to him I had to dive in, and again, he was slowly sinking to the bottom of the river,” said Pereira. “I was able to grab onto his right arm and bring him back to the surface.”
Police Chief Manny Morales said Pereira's action shows the extreme and varied situations that his officers can face each day.
“He definitely put his life on the line,” Morales told WSVN-TV.
“He’s going to get a life-saving award that comes along with eight hours of compensatory time,” he added.
Pereira also credited two other officers and a bystander with helping with the rescue.
“At the end of the day, it’s a life, and one of the things we do as police officers is to protect and preserve life," said Pereira.