FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Kristin Parkinson doesn’t consider herself a hero, instead, she said she was there in a moment when she was needed most.
“I don’t look at myself necessarily as a hero, I know I would’ve gone for anybody in there,” said the Fayetteville police officer.
Parkinson was among five officers with the Fayetteville Police Department who were first at an emergency and rushed into the Cape Fear River after an urgent call on Friday, May 19th. Parkinson said she and another officer were first to arrive after a man had jumped from a bridge into the river on Person Street around 9 a.m.
“We saw the individual in the water—immediately, we looked at each other and realized that we’re going in,” said Parkinson.
Officer Lorilei Fagota said she arrived shortly after to help the two female officers who were already in the river and trying to keep the man’s head above water. Fagota said, “I grew up on an island and I knew I was capable of swimming to them and assisting them.”
Fagota said the three female officers worked together to flip the man over and realized he was unconscious but also still alive. Fagota said the deep water and strong current made it difficult to get the man to shore. Parkinson added, “We tried to go to the shore but every time we would start moving, his head would go under water so we had to maintain what we had.”
Officers Timothy Krause and Albert Cassi, who also swam into the water to help, said they worked to support the other officers and get life jackets. Krause said, “At that point, I was exhausted, they were all exhausted trying to keep him above water.” Krause added, “My focus then switched to my fellow officers and making sure they stayed above water.”
Both Krause and Cassi said firefighters with the Fayetteville Fire Department were able to get to shore and assist them. During that moment, Krause said they were able to bring everyone, including the victim, safely to shore. He said it’s a rescue the officers had never trained for.
“In moments like that, there is no time to think—you just have to act. You can Monday-night-quarterback it after the fact, but during the event, you just know you have to jump in to save a life,” said Krause.
Krause and the others said they were happy to know that their actions kept a man alive and believe the moment only brought the squad closer.