Officer, a young father, tragically dies while trying to rescue other children from drowning – ‘Our city has lost a hero’

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WORCESTER, MA – A 38-year-old Worcester Police officer drowned earlier in June while attempting to save a drowning teen, who sadly also passed away. 

A tragedy through and through, Worcester Police Chief Steven Sargent said that the city “has lost a hero,” with the officer’s passing. 

The fallen officer was identified by officials as 38-year-old Officer Emmanuel Familia, who served the Worcester Police Department for five years before his passing. 

 Chief Sargent stated that the incident occurred on June 4th after reports came in about three teens spotted drowning in a pond at Green Hill Park.

One witness, identified as Sheryl Lamonda, spoke to a local news outlet about the incident: 

“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.”

The police chief stated that five officers had jumped into the water to help the kids, with Officer Familia being one of them. 

Officers were able to rescue two of the teens in the water, however, Officer Familia and a 14-year-old boy never surfaced. Divers were called to the scene to search for Officer Familia and the boy, where both were discovered hours after the initial incident. 

Both Officer Familia and the child were rushed to an area hospital after being discovered, but were sadly pronounced deceased. 

Officials have not released the identity of the teen boy who passed away. 

Chief Sargent shared the following words about Officer Familia: 

“The Worcester Police Department has lost a brother, a friend and a partner, and the city of Worcester has lost a hero. We will remember and honor his selfless devotion to Worcester and his ultimate sacrifice to save someone he didn’t know.”

Governor Charlie Baker took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the loss suffered by both Officer Familia’s family and that of the young boy who passed: 

Tonight, two families are experiencing unimaginable pain and loss in the wake of a devastating tragedy in Worcester, with [Worcester Police] Officer Manny Familia and a teen losing their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of both.”

“Officer Familia is a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice while attempting to save the young man. We are thinking of all those grieving tonight, and of Manny’s brothers and sisters at the [Worcester Police Department].”

A personal friend of the fallen officer, Woodrow Adams, Jr., said that Officer Familia was always the type to put others before him: 

“When you hear about the situation about what happened, that’s Manny. Saving other people. Putting his life on the line…He’s always been willing to go above and beyond for others and help people in need.”

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

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Days prior to Officer Familia’s passing, we at Law Enforcement Today shared the news of an officer in Arizona that was killed in a tragic accident involving a driver who reportedly ran a red light. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PHOENIX, AZ – According to reports, a 27-year-old Phoenix Police officer was killed in a crash during the evening of May 31st, with investigators saying the other driver involved ran a red light when colliding with the officers fully marked patrol vehicle.

According to officials, the driver allegedly responsible for the crash also died as a result of the collision.

Officials say that the collision occurred near Greenway Parkway and Cave Creek Road at approximately 10:30 p.m. on May 31st.

Phoenix Police Officer Ginarro New had the green light at the intersection while inside of his fully marked patrol vehicle when a driver headed eastbound had reportedly run the red light and collided with Officer New’s vehicle.

Phoenix Police Sergeant Ann Justus described the intensity of the impact that transpired at the intersection:

“The force of the collision sent Officer New’s Tahoe through a block wall and into the parking lot on the southeast corner of the intersection where it came to rest on its side.”

Following the collision, Phoenix Fire Department crews had extricated Officer New from his patrol vehicle, and he was subsequently transported to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, Officer New succumbed to his injuries.

Authorities say that the driver that collided with the officer’s patrol vehicle also died as a result of the crash. However, officials have not released the identity of the deceased driver.

Crashed vehicle
Image of driver’s vehicle who reportedly ran a red light and collided with Officer New’s patrol vehicle (YouTube screenshot courtesy of ABC News)

Outside of evidence pointing to the driver running a red light, investigators also say that the driver’s speed was a contributing factor to the fatal crash.

Phoenix Police officer killed in crash, driver of other vehicle also deceased
Image of Officer New’s police cruiser – YouTube screenshot (courtesy of AZ Family)

Images from both of the vehicles involved in the collision are quite telling as to how egregious the impact of the crash was. 

Sergeant Justus pointed out how this tragic crash highlights the dangers associated with modern policing:

“I just want to point out this is the danger our officers face every night. They go to work and they don’t know if they’re going to make it back to their family the next day. And unfortunately, this time, this officer did not. And we ask that your thoughts and prayers are with the New family as well as the entire Phoenix Police Department and all first responders.”

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego provided the following statement regarding the loss of Officer New:

“Our community is grieving the loss of Phoenix Police Officer Ginnaro New. On behalf of the City of Phoenix, we thank Officer New for his service and commitment to keeping us safe. We hold his family in our hearts, and will keep his memory in our minds.”

“I invite our community to thank his Phoenix Police colleagues who face these kinds of dangers daily. Our thoughts are with them today, as are our condolences for this terrible loss. Deep gratitude also goes to the Phoenix Fire Department and Honor Health for their heroic efforts to save Officer New’s life.”

Officer New had joined the Phoenix Police Department back in July of 2019, working out of the Black Mountain Precinct. The officer is survived by his wife, mother, brother and grandmother. 


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