Roller Coaster of Emotions: Officers honored in heroic rescue

Rescue scene on Seymour Avenue, Cleveland
Rescue scene on Seymour Avenue, Cleveland
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight
Cleveland Officers honored in rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight
Cleveland Officers honored in rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight

Several Cleveland Police Officers being honored for coming to the rescue of the missing women held captive for a decade.

Ofc. Anthony Espada, Ofc. Michael Tracy, Ofc. Barbara Johnson, Ofc. Michael Simon, Ofc. Mathew Cavanaugh, Ofc. Theresa Cavett, Det. John Graves, Ofc. Kevin Fairchild, and Ofc. Victor Nan were all honored for their heroics by their peers and members of the community.

They were the first faces that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight saw that fateful day.

Officer Anthony Espada and his partner Michael Tracy the first inside the house of horrors.

"It just still goes through my head and every time I think about it I feel that emotion going through my head," explains officer Anthony Espada.

"I was shocked, disbelief. I still have the image of her in my mind. When I close my eyes it's just unbelievable," says Officer Michael Tracy who Amanda Berry ran to.

Officer Barbara Johnson the third person to go inside. She describes seeing the women as a roller coaster of emotions.

" I just sat down and cried. "When someone is clutching you and saying please don't let me go. It just rips your heart out of your chest. It's just a fantastic feeling," says Johnson.

27 year veteran Michael Simon grabbed a handrail off the stairs of the porch to pry open the door. "It was very dark we were yelling police and it was dead silence going up the stairs. I felt what I could only consider as evil in the home," explains officer Michael Simon.

The memory of May 6th is forever in the officers minds. They don't want to be called heroes, just officers doing their job. "They are the true heroes all three of them," says officer Espada of Berry, DeJesus, and Knight.

All the officers involved tell us they have never experienced anything like this in their years on the force. They will receive a special coin from their commander for their help in the rescue.

Berry, DeJesus and Knight had been held against their will and sexually assaulted for years.

Berry went missing in 2003 a day shy of her 17th birthday. DeJesus disappeared as she walked home from school in 2004 at the age of 14. Knight went missing in 2002 at the age of 21.

Berry, DeJesus and Knight have since been treated and released from the hospital and are home safe with family.

Ariel Castro is facing a number of charges and remains jailed on $8M bond.

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