Off-duty police officer saves drowning child

Christopher Tiller, his wife, and their young daughter were swimming at a Johns Creek apartment complex on State Bridge Road last week when suddenly, on his day off, he found himself responding to a desperate call for help.

“All of the sudden, my wife looked past me and said, ‘Oh my God!’” said Tiller, who joined the Duluth Police Department in Oct. 2017. “I turned around and there was a guy picking his son, probably 2 or 3 years old, out of the water and carrying him to the edge.”

Tiller, 29, says he immediately jumped into action, performing CPR on the young boy.

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“He wasn’t breathing, and his eyes were rolled back in the back of his head,” he recalled. “There was no response from him at all. Water started slowly coming out of his nose and mouth. It continued until finally he just coughed up and he just started coming out.”

The child, who hasn’t been identified, was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released, investigators said.

“I’m just happy I was there,” Tiller said. “I was in the right place at the right time.”

Tiller, who spent four years with the Atlanta Police Department before coming to Duluth, said he learned how to perform CPR while he was going through the police academy, but this was the first time he performed it in a real-life situation.

“You can practice it, but you never know if it’ll work until you find yourself in this situation,” he said.

When asked if he considers himself a hero, Tiller shrugged it off, telling Channel 2 Action News that he was just doing his job.

“I’m a cop,” he said. “You help someone whenever you get a chance.”

Tiller said he couldn’t help but think about his own child while trying to save the little boy’s life.

“It does weigh a little more afterward being a father knowing that ‘Holy crap, that could’ve been my kid,'” he said.

Tiller wants to meet the boy he saved, but he didn’t get the child’s name. Channel 2 Action News is working with the property manager, trying to help arrange a reunion.

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