The off-duty deputy who saved a baby from a hot car in Denton County earlier this month refuses to take all of the credit.
Even though he broke into the locked car to save the child, he credits an 11-year-old girl who first heard the cries coming from the car.
The incident happened at Nebraska Furniture Mart in The Colony.
"We were walking,” said Kaufman County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Slater. “My wife heard someone say ‘Baby.’ I saw all the people outside, and she's like, ‘There's probably a baby locked inside the car.’”
Slater was preparing to work his first shift with a newly-trained canine officer.
A 7-month-old baby boy was strapped into a rear-facing car seat of an SUV on Saturday, Aug. 1 in the parking lot of the store. The SUV’s windows were completely up.
Surveillance cameras captured the aftermath.
"I get my knife out, I start hammering the window,” said Slater. “After about 25 hits, it shatters, break the glass around through, get the baby out…when I got in the car, he was pretty sweaty. Not real, real wet, but you could tell he's been in there for a while.”
Just moments after the baby boy was rescued, police and paramedics arrived.
The baby’s parents wandered out of the store after the rescue and said they forgot the child while caught up in the flurry of moving into a new home.
Ultimately, the baby’s father, Matthew Long, was arrested and charged with child endangerment and bonded out.
Police say the baby’s mother, Stephanie Long, was allowed to go to the hospital with her son, but an arrest warrant has now been issued for her arrest as well.
The baby boy was not seriously injured from the heat.
In the meantime, Deputy Slater, who was simply out to do some shopping, will receive a formal commendation from his own department, though he insists on sharing the credit with the alert young girl who first heard the baby’s cries.
“She deserves all the credit, really,” said Slater. “All I did was break a window. Anybody could've done it. "