A Richmond County deputy was honored at a command staff meeting Oct. 15 for his actions with a homeless family in September.
Deputy Austin Shepherd was patrolling the 3100 block of Washington Road on Sept. 11. The officer discovered a family of four that had been living in their vehicle for a week. The mother is an Army veteran who suffers mental issues that cause erratic behavior.
Authorities said the wife had left in the vehicle with her 2-year-old daughter, leaving her husband and 8-year-old son behind. The wife also destroyed all of her son’s clothes because she believed someone had put tracking devices in them.
After Shepherd initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle, the wife got out and begged him to shoot her, police said.
She was taken into custody without incident and transported to a hospital for an emergency evaluation.
Shepherd’s wife, who was informed of the events, purchased clothes for the 8-year-old and Shepherd raised $140 through donations from fellow officers to help the family.
Shepherd also worked with a friend who manages a motel so the family could have a room at a reduced rate.
Shepherd was honored at the meeting with a certificate of appreciation, a letter and gift card.
Authorities said Shepherd was “commended for his compassion and his excellent work was a comfort for this family during a difficult time.”