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Mother Praises Hero Officer Who Sacrificed Himself To Save Her Family

A Gulfport police officer put himself in imminent danger to protect a family.

Gulfport, MS – A Mississippi mother credited a Gulfport police officer for saving the lives of her toddler and boyfriend, after he willingly parked himself between the woman’s family and the reckless driver of a stolen van.

Gulfport Police Department (GPD) Officer Luis Garcia was severely injured in the resulting crash, and was listed in “serious but stable” condition, the Sun Herald reported.

The incident occurred on Jan. 22, after police received a call that 18-year-old Eli Bosworth had stolen a white 2014 Chevrolet Express van, GPD Chief Leonard Papania said in a press release, according to the Sun Herald.

Officers located the van at approximately 6:30 p.m., but Bosworth refused to pull over, and led officers on a pursuit.

Courtney Brown said that she was traveling with her nearly 2-year-old daughter, as well as her boyfriend and mother, on the evening of the crash.

“We were at the red light at Creosote Road and Three Rivers Road and we saw a police car go through the red light,” Brown told the Sun Herald. “Once the light turned green, a second police car stopped in the middle of the road, and prevented us from going through...”

The second vehicle was being driven by Officer Garcia. In an instant, Bosworth came barreling through the intersection, and plowed directly into Officer Garcia’s patrol car.

Brown estimated that Bosworth was traveling between 75 and 80 mph at the time of the impact.

“The van crashed right into Garcia’s car and it almost knocked him into us,” Brown said. “But Officer Garcia put himself between us and the van and he saved our lives — that would have been us had he not stopped when the light turned green.”

The violent crash mangled the officer’s car so severely, that rescuers had to cut him out of it, WDAM reported.

“It was bad. We were just hoping he was alive,” Brown said.

Officer Garcia, a 10-year-veteran of the force, was transported for emergency medical care. Although his in stable but critical condition, he is expected to recover, Chief Papania told the Sun Herald.

“He has been talking with family and friends,” Chief Papania said. He added that the first thing Officer Garcia asked for was cake – so he was given cake.

“He is loved by his fellow workers, he is loved by his administration, and he loved by his city,” Chief Papania said.

Brown posted a statement of appreciation on Facebook following the incident.

“If it wasn’t for officer Garcia jumping in the way and blocking the intersection, my daughter and boyfriend would have been the ones to get hit and possibly die,” she wrote. “I am beyond thankful that officer Luis Garcia of Gulfport Police Department, saved our lives...he's truly a hero.”

Bosworth was charged with felony fleeing and theft of a motor vehicle. His bond was set at $150,000.

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What can you say to a great man. Saying Thank you for your service and dedication does not seem enough I am grateful to this officer, I wish him a speedy recovery

8

A true hero Officer Garcia! Protect and serve! Fleeing and theft $150,000 bail, let’s add reckless driving, assault with a deadly weapon, a vehicle 🚗 and attempted murder. Bring that bail amount up to $500,000. Praying for a speedy recovery Officer Garcia 🙏🙏🙏😇

7

Thank you for sharing. Police always get the bad press which is so not who they truly are. They are hero’s daily !!

3

Praying for this hero.

5

JohnPollastro I couldn't agree with you more! Where's the other charges, increased bail, and above all, prayers for Officer Garcia.

4

GOB BLESS OUR POLICE OFFICERS!

3

My prayers are with, not only Officer Garcia but, with his family. 🙏🙏🙏 That ratfink should've gotten a ton more charges and, a higher bail!!! My sincerest and, heartfelt thanks to ALL who protect and, serve to keep our communities safe!!

1

What happened to reckless endangerment as well?

2

There are no words adequate to describe such selfless action on the part of Officer Garcia. All I can say is "Thank you" but in my heart, he is there forever as a hero. God bless you with a complete recovery, and bless your family, both heart and blue.

I agree the charges are not enough. The driver had absolutely no regard as to who he might hurt or kill and the punishment won't fit the crime. More charges, more time, definitely major restitution for the officer, God Bless Him.

God bless our men and women in blue!

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