MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A photo of a teenager hugging a Memphis Police officer after a suicide call on the I-40 bridge has been making waves on social media in recent days.
Tuesday, we got the chance to sit down with the officer credited with saving the teen's life.
Officer Tina Shaw is being called a hero, an angel even, but she said this is what she does daily. Helping people.
“The Spirit just led me to go there to see what was going on there and who all was there,” shared Officer Shaw.
It’s an embrace she won’t forget, that started with a familiar nudge telling her she was needed.
“I got out and at this point, he was already over the ledge,” said Officer Shaw. “He was hanging over the ledge and then he finally went all the way over. Turned his body facing the water.”
Shaw took the call on the I-40 bridge, asking the 17-year-old there what brought him to this point.
“Time was of the essence…we didn’t want him to make one wrong move,” she shared. “I kept asking him ‘hey can I come help you can I get you down.’”
“He was crying and I saw the fear in his eyes. I was telling him about me being a mother, I think that’s what kind of drove him home.”
She learned the 17-year-old is a young father and was worried about his job.
“He was crying when I helped him get down,” Shaw said. “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 is a Crisis Intervention Officer, or CIT.
“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 okay 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 knew that day on the bridge she had help from above.
“I know it just wasn’t me it was God in me.”
Local and global organizations have reached out since, offering the teen not only educational and mental help but his son help too.
Officer Shaw’s already spoken to the teen’s mom – and wants to reconnect with who she now considers a third son.