‘No time to think’: Macomb County officer jumps into action to save toddler inside dollar store

The incident occurred inside a dollar store near 15 Mile and Ryan roads

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – The officer who performed life-saving compressions on a toddler who wasn’t breathing in Sterling Heights described the incident to Local 4 ahead of a ceremony where he will be honored for his efforts.

The incident occurred inside a dollar store near 15 Mile and Ryan roads.

“Right when you walk in the doors, obviously, you see the child, which is obviously on the counter of the store.

In this situation, I was right down the road when the call came out, so that was what made for the quick response time.

So, for myself, it’s not so much thinking about what you’re doing. It’s just taking your training and just doing it at that point, so when you walk in the door, and you see the child there, I immediately put him on the hard surface on the ground and check for a pulse, and once you don’t feel that then you’re going straight into your chest compressions.”

Sterling Heights police officer Thomas Potts

From his police body-worn camera, you could see Potts put into motion the key steps that saved the life of the 18-month-old boy whose heart stopped breathing.

It is not known why, but what we do know is that the little boy’s life was saved, and he is doing fine Wednesday (April 3).

“In that situation, you’re hoping for the best outcome, but you know that it’s going to be a complete group effort,” Potts said.

The first two life-saving steps inside the Dollar Store for Potts were remaining calm and focused and starting hands-hold CPR.

“There’s no time to think just time to do,” Potts said.

When asked if he felt like a hero, Potts said he was happy to be a police officer in Sterling Heights.

“Personally, I don’t feel like a hero,” Potts said. “Once again, I give all credit to everybody else that I could. For me, personally it’s just something that I am happy on the outcome, and it just makes me feel great to be a police officer in the city of Sterling Heights.”

Potts and the firefighters will be honored for their work on Thursday, April 4. He said he hadn’t met the 18-month-old’s family but was told they were doing fine.

Footage of the incident can be seen in the video player below.

About the Authors

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.

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