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WATCH: SBPD officer pulls child with autism from river, saves him from drowning

(WNDU)
Published: Jun. 30, 2017 at 8:33 PM EDT
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A dramatic scene unfolded Friday evening in Howard Park as a police officer saved a young boy with autism from nearly drowning in the St. Joseph River.

It all began around 5 p.m. Indiana DNR says that the boy and his mother were walking on LaSalle when the 5-year-old suddenly took off sprinting. The mother had trouble keeping up as she was also carrying a 3-month-old child.

Indiana DNR says South Bend Police Officer Reid Spitaels saw the boy in the St. Joseph River at Howard Park. They say Officer Spitaels then jumped into the river, in full police gear, “without hesitation.”

"I mean I'm no hero, I'm just an officer like every officer we have in the city and around just doing their job," Spitaels said. "It just so happened that it went noticed this time and not unnoticed. I'm just glad the little boy's all right, everything worked out."

As you can see in the video above, Officer Spitaels pulled the boy safely to shore.

Indiana DNR released a statement that said:

“Officer Spitaels exemplifies what it means to be a police officer by taking extreme risk to his own life to save the life of another. His actions are nothing short of heroic. Indiana Conservation Officers commend him for his bravery.”

Officer Spitaels was previously awarded "Officer of the Month" by the South Bend Police Department in November 2016.

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