Bossier City officers, good Samaritan receive standing ovation for saving woman’s life on bridge

Salute the Badge

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Bossier City police officers and a good Samaritan are being honored by the city council for their efforts after saving a woman from jumping off a bridge earlier this month.

Corporal Matthew Bragg and Rawlis Leslie Jr. received a standing ovation, as they stood before the Bossier City council meeting Tuesday. They were honored with the Life Saving Award for their heroic actions on June 1. Leslie’s award reads:

“Your swift and courageous actions with no regard to your own safety while helping two police officers June 1, 2021 on the Shreveport Barksdale Bridge, resulted in saving the life of a woman who was in great distress. On behalf of the citizens of Bossier City, we would like to present you with this Life Saving Award.”

The two men were overwhelmed with gratitude.

“It’s definitely a great day,” said Corporal Matthew Bragg. “I mean, when I first met this man, it was a very difficult time.”

“He was the right person at the right time. When I was holding onto that young lady, I was praying someone would show up and help, and they sent me the biggest man possible. And I needed that at the time.”

When asked about why he pulled over to help Bragg, Leslie says the urge to assist came from a personal experience.

“I’ve been there before, and I will just pray that someone would pull me over,” said Leslie. “You know, just metaphorically speaking, if I get to that point again in my life.”

This is the second time Corporal Bragg has received the Life Saving Award, his first was back in 2009.

On June 1, officers responded to a suspicious person complaint on the Shreveport-Barksdale Bridge that led to a remarkable chain of events.

Police say when Cpl. Mathew Bragg arrived on the scene, he found an upset woman stepping onto the ledge of the bridge over the Red River.

In the video above, the woman appears to position herself to jump, the Cpl. Bragg moves in, holding on to her to prevent her from falling into the swift-moving water.

After about 40 seconds, officer Bailey arrived on the scene to help, but the two of them were unable to pull the woman from the ledge.

While Bragg and Bailey waited for additional officers to show up, Leslie saw the officers needed help and pulled over to assist them.

The woman had no physical injuries, and she was taken to Willis-Knighton Bossier for evaluation.

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