San Diego K9 Officer Jonathan Wiese has been credited with saving the lives of two young girls after rappelling down a cliff to rescue them from a car their father had driven into the ocean in an apparent murder-suicide attempt over the weekend.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Wiese was near the San Diego-Coronado Bridge responding to a call the girls’ mother made to police Saturday morning, in which she informed them that her husband was suicidal and planned to take the toddlers, both two-year-olds, to the bridge and drive off it.
ABC-10 reports that when Wiese arrived at the cliff area, where the man ultimately drove off, he saw the car had flipped over in the ocean below, and started to think-up a quick plan of action.
“My first thought was jump but I’m afraid of heights,” said Wiese, reports CBS-8.
“I could see him and he had one of the girls in his arms, and I have a two-year-old daughter at home so I imagined, what if that was my wife and kid down there? You’re not going to stand there on the cliff and watch it happen,” said Wiese, who later recalled the rescue effort, reports the Tribune.
Wiese grabbed his K9 leash, wrapped it around himself, and gave one end to the other officers arriving on scene.
“We kind of held on to each other, I’ve never done anything like that holding on to each other’s belts,” recalled Sgt. Briggitta Belz, one of the responding officers.
Wiese then repelled down 30 feet to the rocks below and swam toward the man, grabbed him under the armpit, held them above water, and pushed them toward the shore, reports ABC-10.
San Diego Police Chief David Nisliet called Wiese’s actions “probably the most heroic thing I’ve seen in my 32 years.” Both of the girls were still in the hospital as of Monday, but are expected to recover — a development Wiese said was the “best news you can have.”
“All I care about is that those girls are going to live and have a second chance at life,” said Wiese.
Wiese, who appears to be no stranger to quick-thinking, was also commended for his heroism last September, several months after he single-handedly arrested the Chabad of Poway shooting suspect. (The shooter reportedly fled the scene after he was chased away by Oscar Stewart, a former combat veteran, and Jonathan Morales, an armed off-duty border patrol agent.)
As NBC News San Diego previously reported, Wiese was nearby about to have lunch with his family when he received a description of a shooting suspect, which matched the description of a person he saw outside a restaurant.
Wiese then conducted the arrest, and later observed that he was just glad to be there “to stop him and prevent any future damage and injury.”
San Diego Sheriff William D. Gore honored Wiese in a ceremony several months later, along with several dozen other officers who demonstrated heroism and courage, for his role in the arrest, reported the news agency.
“Officer Wiese’s actions that day exemplified bravery, dedication, duty and his commitment to the citizens of San Diego,” said the sheriff.
CBS News-8 reports that the father survived the ordeal, and has been charged with attempted murder and kidnapping.
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