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Note left in gas station restroom may have saved woman’s life

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 9:21 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) – A gas station clerk may have helped save a woman’s life by alerting authorities after reportedly finding a note inside the restroom that read: “Police…Tell room 218. I need help. He broke my cell phone.”

Sgt. Kelvin Franco and another officer with the Sweetwater Police Department responded to the call from the gas station, according to WVLT.

“We tried to get there as fast as we could,” Franco said.

The officers went to the hotel hoping to find a possible victim in room 218.

Franco said they eventually found a man, a child and a woman who told officers her boyfriend beat her several times that day.

“Her nose was bloody, bruising on her chin, bruising on the top of her head. You can tell she had been a victim of some type of assault,” Franco said.

Franco said that note might have saved the woman’s life, but it wasn’t lost on him how he put his life on the line to help.

“We didn’t know if he was armed or if he was the one who put the note there,” Franco explained.

Domestic disputes continue to be one of the most dangerous calls for a police officer.

The Department of Justice looked at calls from 2010 to 2016 and found more officers died during a domestic dispute than any other call during that time.

Days before Franco closed his case, a Middle Tennessee sheriff’s deputy was shot dead while trying to save a woman from her suspected abuser.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports 28 officers were shot and killed in the first half of 2021.

“We never go to a domestic violence call alone, because that’s how dangerous it is,” Franco said.

A suspect was arrested for simple domestic assault at that hotel in Sweetwater.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline envisions a world where all relationships are positive, healthy, and free from violence. If you or someone you know needs help, call The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or go to thehotline.org.

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