Meridian, Miss. Things became a little emotional Tuesday at the Meridian City Council meeting as a police officer was recognized for taking action to save the life of a 7-year-old child.
Officer Patrick Gale received a rousing standing ovation as he was introduced as Police Officer of the Year. Gale was visibly moved and almost unable to speak.
Two days before Christmas, the seven-year veteran was dispatched to a house where he discovered a young boy had been shot. With paramedics yet to arrive, Gale risked his job and drove Juzavious Taylor to the hospital in his patrol car.
Both the child's mother and city officials say Juzavious, who had a punctured liver and main artery, would have died if Gale had not acted as he did. .
"He saved that child's life on Dec. 23, and we're happy that he did that," said Mayor Percy Bland. "And the chief and myself, and all of the officers, are proud of what he did on that day."
"At that time I wasn't thinking about my job," said Gale. "The main thing was just trying to save the child's life."
"Thank you for saving me," said Juzavious.
"I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart," said Juzavious' mother, Katisha Wells. "You, the hospital and all of y'all. I just want to thank you."
"I was just doing my job," Gale said.
Meridian police say they believe the shooting was accidental and no charges were filed.