The Cleveland patrol officer who first encountered the three women held in captivity for a decade said he was overwhelmed but grateful about the call.
Officer Anthony Espada, who recounted his story on the Cleveland Division of Police's blog, said he doesn't feel like a hero for helping rescue Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight from Ariel Castro's house on May 6.
Officer Espada responded to a crowded scene, as Amanda Berry stood on the porch among a crowd of neighbors. She held a child while giving information to police dispatchers on a cell phone.
As the cruiser pulled up to the home, Berry approached Espada, who was sitting in the passenger seat. Berry pointed to the home, and Espada's partner asked her whether there were more people in the house. She answered, "Yes. Gina DeJesus and another girl."
The officers ran toward the home and went up the steps.
"I'm looking that way just waiting to see what's going to happen and it was Michelle," Officer Espada writes. "She popped out into the doorway and paused there for a second. Within moments she came charging at me. She jumped onto me. She's like, "You saved us! You saved us!" And I'm holding onto her so tight."
Officer Espada then describes his next find.
"Within a few seconds I see another girl come out of the bedroom," he wrote. "I just look at her. You can immediately tell who it is. I asked her, "What's your name?" She said, "My name is Georgina DeJesus." Very overwhelming. I mean it took everything to hold myself together."
The officer then radioed dispatch about his discovery, broadcasting "2Adam23, we found them! We found them!"
The emotion of the moment hasn't left Officer Espada, who continues to replay the moment in his mind.
"Everybody was in the right place," he wrote. "It couldn't have gotten any better than that, that day. I don't feel like a hero. I'm just glad I was there, you know, just making sure they were safe. I feel so happy for them. It is just unbelievable."