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'Worcester Has Lost A Hero': Police Officer Drowns Trying To Save Teen Who Also Died

WORCESTER (CBS) - A Worcester Police officer and a 14-year-old boy drowned in Green Hill Pond on Friday afternoon. The police officer, 38-year-old Enmanuel "Manny" Familia, was attempting to save the boy.

Police rushed to the pond after 911 callers reported three children struggling in the water. Five officers immediately jumped into the pond.

"Two kids were in the water trying to hold onto each other in the water when I got here, screaming that they couldn't swim and that there was somebody else under," witness Sheryl Lamonda told WBZ.

Manny Familia
Worcester Police Officer Enmanuel Familia (Image credit Worcester PD)

One officer came out of the water with two kids he had rescued. They were transported to the hospital.

Lamonda said another officer was in the water and people on shore were directing him to where the missing boy was. "He just went right under," Lamonda said.

A dive team pulled Officer Familia from the pond and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

At approximately 3:25 p.m., almost two hours after the initial 911 calls, a dive team recovered the body of the 14-year-old boy. He has not been identified.

Familia was a five-year veteran of department. "The Worcester Police Department has lost a brother, friend and a partner," Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent said. "The City of Worcester has lost a hero."

Officer Familia leaves behind his wife Jennifer and two children, a son and a daughter.

"We will remember and honor his selfless devotion to Worcester and his ultimate sacrifice to save someone he didn't know," Sargent said.

Officer Familia's close friends are devastated, but not surprised that he did not hesitate to jump in the water.

"When you hear about the situation about what happened, that's Manny. Saving other people. Putting his life on the line," said Woodrow Adams, Jr. "He's always been willing to go above and beyond for others and help people in need."

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said his thoughts and prayers are with the two families.

"Officer Familia is a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice while attempting to save the young man," Baker tweeted. "We are thinking of all those grieving tonight, and of Manny's brothers and sisters at the Worcester Police Department."

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