• First responders go above and beyond to help homeless family after emergency

    By: Tony Thomas

    Updated:

    DULUTH, Ga. - Gwinnett County first responders are being praised for going out of their way to help a homeless family during an emergency.

    That family of four was walking through downtown Duluth when they noticed their 6-month-old baby having breathing problems. They waved down an officer, and received more help than they were ever expecting.

    Officer Mark Bagwell didn't know what he was facing as he approached the family Saturday night. In the stroller, 6-month-old Aviana was having a hard time breathing after a bout with bronchitis-like symptoms.

    As police and Aviana's parents, Pierre and Faith waited for firefighters to arrive, Officer Bagwell realized the family had other problems -- they were homeless.

    “I’m here for you. My best interest is that little baby,” Bagwell is heard telling the family in body camera video.


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    The parents say even after firefighters arrived and made sure Aviana was OK, the officers spent more than two hours with them, making sure everyone was OK.

    Firefighters and police on scene pooled their own money together to get a hotel for the family for the night. They also bought the family pizza. 

    “I’m 100 percent grateful,” Pierre James said. 

    He said he can’t thank the first responders enough.

    “It made a world of difference because that night we honestly didn't know whether we were going to get a room ourselves or sleep on the street,” he said. 

    Aviana's parents say she is OK. Mom and baby went to a shelter. Dad remains around the area to continue to look for work in a warehouse. 

    They hope to be reunited soon. 

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