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'It will probably stay with me for the rest of my life': Mesa police officer helps save baby's life

Officer Shaquille Perez rushed into action when he heard a mother screaming for help.

MESA, Ariz. — The right place at the right time -- that's how Mesa police officer Shaquille Perez describes the day he helped save a baby's life. It's a day he will always remember.

“It was the first time in my entire life that I had to respond like this to an infant,” Perez said.

In July, Perez was at the Mesa light rail station on Main Street near Dobson Road for a call related to someone on the light rail. In the body camera video from Perez's perspective that day, you can hear a mother screaming for help. It then shows a young mother carrying her one-year-old son in her arms as she runs toward officer Perez.

The baby wasn't breathing.

“What’s going on?” Perez asked. 

“We need help!” the mother yelled.

Perez said the mom woke up that morning and found that her infant son was not breathing. He said she immediately got in her car and rushed to the hospital. She had barely made it out of her neighborhood when she noticed Perez's cruiser and stopped for help. 

A decision that may have saved her child's life.

“I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t,” Perez said.

He immediately grabbed the child and began life saving measures. About 30 seconds later the baby can be seen breathing.

It was by pure luck that at the same time this was happening, Perez said a retired paramedic was at that same light rail station and also offered help. Bringing the baby into Perez's air conditioned cruiser. Another 30 seconds go by and then there was a sound that brought relief to everyone involved.

The baby started crying.

“He’s crying so we are getting some noises from him," Perez said in the body camera footage. "He’s going to be okay.”

Firefighters arrived shortly and transported the baby to the hospital. Perez said he followed them to make sure they arrived safely. For this officer, the incident was personal. Perez said on Tuesday he and his wife are expecting a child. 

He'd been thinking of his own baby while saving another's life.

“It was kind of an emotional time for sure and there were a lot of feelings that came up while I was helping the baby," Perez said. "It was a crazy feeling for sure.”

Now, Perez can't help but think of how everything just worked itself out. From the mom spotting police, to an officer and former paramedic being at the same place at the same time.

“I was really grateful that I happened to be there at the right time," Perez said. "Mom was able to see they made the best decision ever to stop, right, come get some help. It’s an unbelievable feeling and like I said it will probably stay with me for the rest of my life.”

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