Chattanooga police officer Brandon Herring arrived at the scene of a triple shooting and homicide in College Hill Courts just moments after the shots rang out around 1 a.m. on Jan. 7.
A woman screamed from the upstairs window that her baby was shot.
Herring rushed inside the apartment and discovered Zoey Duncan, 1, wrapped in a blood-soaked white towel. Another woman, 20-year-old Talitha Bowman, was dead, shot twice, once in the heart. An 18-year-old man was shot in the chest and critically wounded. The baby's mother, Bianca Horton, also was hit.
She pleaded with Herring to get help for Zoey, who'd been shot in the back. The baby's breathing was raspy and her pulse was low. As Herring examined Zoey, she faded in and out of consciousness. He'd find out later that the bullet had collapsed her right lung.
"It was like tunnel vision," Herring said on Tuesday. "I honed in on the baby."
He asked for the ETA on an ambulance, but no one could give an exact time. That's when his boss, Sgt. Darrell Turner, made a bold decision. Take the baby in a patrol car, he said.
"I wasn't for sure on how many ambulances were going to get there," Turner recalled. "We were waiting on the ambulances and had multiple victims. So I made the decision to take her in a patrol car in order to get her as much help as possible."
Herring scooped Zoey up and jumped in the back seat of Officer Clayton Holmes' car. They headed to T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
"The only thing I knew to do was to keep her awake," Herring said.
By the time ambulances arrived on scene at College Hill Courts, Herring and Holmes had already handed Zoey over to Erlanger. She underwent emergency surgery and survived, paralyzed from the waist down.
On Tuesday, Herring, Holmes and Turner accepted an award from Chattanooga police for their actions that night. Fourteen other officers and eight community members also were honored at the annual awards ceremony.
Herring said Zoey is starting to respond to touch on her legs. She's attended physical therapy and the family has said they hope she'll walk again.
Zoey attended Tuesday's ceremony, held up by Horton on stage, in pink socks and no shoes.
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CPD award winners
* Spirit of Community Policing: Capt. Brian Cotter, Officer Billy Atwell
* Distinguished Alumnus: Michael Walden, Mike Williams
* Community Partners: Dr. Everlena Holmes, Ms. Olga de Klein
* Law Enforcement Partner of the Year: Tenn. Dept. of Corrections, Probation and Parole Division
* CPD Explorers: Darius Campbell and Ian Haga
* Citizens' Police Academy Alumni Association: David McGlumphy
* Officer of the Year: Sgt. David Allen
* Patrol Officer of the Year: Colton Krumrie
* Investigator of the Year: Tim Pickard
* Civilian of the Year: Yolanda Massey
* Rookie of the Year: Officer Jeffrey Buckner
* Supervisor of the Year: Sgt. Becky Shelton
* Manager of the Year: Assistant Chief Tracy Arnold
* Life Saving Awards
Officer Mikel Thomas
Officer Clayton Holmes
Officer Brandon Herring
Sgt. Darrell Turner
Officer Matthew Robertson
Officer Caleb Brooks
Officer Harry Horton
Officer Trevor Creighton
Sgt. Daniel Francis