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Hero Down: Worcester PD Officer Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Familia Dies While Trying To Save Drowning Teen

Worcester, MA – Worcester Police Department (WPD) Officer Emmanuel “Manny” Familia died in the line of duty on June 4 while trying to rescue a drowning teenager.

The 38-year-old officer was dispatched to Green Hill Park at approximately 1:35 p.m., after witness Ayeh Tanteh called 911 to report there were three kids screaming for help in the pond, Mass Live reported.

“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,” another witness told WBZ.

WPD officers and the Worcester Fire Department raced to the scene and soon spotted multiple people in the water, the WPD said in a press release later that evening.

In the center of the pond was a teen who was “reaching an arm up and struggling,” police said.

Officer Familia and four of his fellow officers jumped into the water and swam out to try to find the boy and to rescue the other two teens who were still in the water.

Police were able to bring two of the juveniles back to shore, but the boy who had been struggling in the middle of the pond was missing, as was Officer Familia.

Divers located Officer Familia beneath the surface at approximately 2:28 p.m. and UMass EMS immediately initiated life-saving protocols while rushing him to the hospital, the WPD said.

The five-year department veteran died at the hospital, according to his department.

Divers located the 14-year-old boy in the pond at about 3:25 p.m.

He was also rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The boy’s family later identified him as Troy Love, Mass Live reported.

Seven divers assisted with the search and recovery effort, one of whom ended up being transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

The four officers who went into the water with Officer Familia were also transported to the hospital to be evaluated, the WPD said.

“The city of Worcester has lost a hero,” WPD Chief Steven Sargent said on Friday, according to Mass Live. “We will remember and honor his selfless devotion to Worcester and his ultimate sacrifice to save someone he didn’t know.”

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty said the veteran officer’s death was a tragedy.

“This is the type of person that Manny was, someone who would lay down his life for someone else’s child,” Petty told Mass Live.

Officer Familia began his law enforcement career in 2013, when he joined the Quinsigamond Community College Police Department, where he’d previously been a student, Mass Live reported.

He then served the Clark University Police Department from 2014 until 2016, when he joined the WPD.

Officer Familia leaves behind his wife, Jennifer, and his children, Jayla and Jovan, according to the WPD.

He is also survived by his parents.

“Officer Familia was a credit to the department,” New England Police Benevolent Association Local 911 President Daniel Gilbert told Mass Live. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, his children and his family, as well as the family of the child that perished who Manny was attempting to save.”

Over 100 WPD officers showed up at 13-year-old Jovan’s baseball playoff game on Sunday to support him and his family, the department said in a Facebook post.

A fundraising campaign established to help Officer Familia’s family in the wake of their loss has raised over $96,000 so far.

Officer Familia will be laid to rest on Thursday, the WPD said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Worcester Police Department Officer Emmanuel “Manny” Familia, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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