(3TV/CBS 5) – For the first time, we are speaking with the Mesa police officer who was in the right place at the right time. Officer Shaquille Perez was on an unrelated call when a desperate mother ran up to him with her baby, who was not breathing. Perez did CPR, and now the baby is safe and doing fine.
Officer Perez says the day before this incident, the mom had taken her baby to the doctor to get vaccinations. That night, he got a fever, and the next morning, the mom said her baby would not wake up. She jumped in the car to head to a hospital, but she pulled over when they came across Officer Perez on the drive there.
“Something about having that moment with the baby, I think it will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Officer Perez said. Perez was dealing with a passenger on the light rail near Main Street around 10 in the morning at the end of July. But that call quickly turned into one that would change his life.
“It was the first time in my entire life I’ve had to respond like this to an infant,” Officer Perez said. His body cam footage shows a mother running toward him carrying her baby, who wasn’t breathing. “I tried to do whatever I could to help. Turn him over to the back and give him pats.”
Officer Perez said what happened next seemed to be a miracle. “A retired paramedic came up and let me know he was a retired EMT,” he said. “He took over and put the baby in the squad car with air conditioning. It’s not very often you have citizens come up and perform life-saving measures. Once I saw the baby take a gasp and was breathing immediately, I felt a sigh of relief.”
Officer Perez says this happened in just a couple of minutes, but it felt like hours. “It was just by chance they happened to see my lights and stop by there, and I don’t know what would’ve happened if they hadn’t, but I’m glad they trusted us enough,” Perez said.
And for him, this call brought up a lot of personal feelings, as he will soon be a parent himself. “We are expecting, so it was definitely one of those situations where it was super eye-opening,” he said. “It was a very surreal time for me just given everything that’s happened with my own relationship and our child, our expected child, and for this to happen, it was kind of an emotional time for sure.”
Officer Perez said the mom made the right call by pulling over. He said he knew he could use his resources to get the baby help a lot faster than if the family drove to the ER, and again, he was just so happy he was in the right place, at the right time.