GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The police officer who rescued a little boy found locked inside a hot car, while his mother shopped at a Greenville beauty store, is speaking out about what happened, saying how grateful he is that he got to the boy in time.
The boy’s mother is charged with misdemeanor child abuse.
Bystanders are being praised by police for their role in helping save the boy, who was locked in a car parked in the lot in front of Zoe’s Kitchen and Ulta Beauty.
You can see the relief on the faces of bystanders in cellphone video that captured the moment Officer Elliot Gruhn pulls the toddler from the car where police say he’d been trapped for about an hour.
“He was crying, visibly upset, he appeared to be in distress,” Gruhn says.
The officer immediately rushed the boy into Zoe’s Kitchen where he tried to cool him off before he was taken to the hospital.
The bystanders called 9-1-1 around 2 p.m. Thursday after they heard the boy crying.
“If they didn’t call or if somebody didn’t take action, we don’t really know what could have happened, the child was in the car for almost an hour and it was 116 degrees so, it could’ve ended very badly and we’re very happy that it didn’t and that the child, as far as we know, is okay,” the officer says.
An infrared temperature gun read 115.8 degrees inside the car. It was about 88 degrees outside at the time.
“I’m just happy that I was a short distance away and was able to respond,” he says. “It’s very dangerous and it’s about to be summertime, so we just want to educate people that you should not leave a child in a car.”
The boy’s mother, Ashley Garris, 21, is charged with misdemeanor child abuse…