First on Scene: Officers react to Castro plea deal

9:06 AM, Jul 27, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Friday was also a memorable day for the first officers on scene at Seymour Avenue who helped to rescue Amanda, Gina, and Michelle.

With Ariel Castro scheduled to be sentenced to life without parole next week, those officers spoke out for only the second time since the Miracle in Cleveland recalling new details about what they discovered inside Castro's home and the moments that followed which they say they'll never forget.

"I ended up climbing through the bottom of the door where Amanda Berry had kicked out the bottom panel of the door in her escape," explained Cleveland police officer Michael Tracy, who was the first to break through Ariel Castro's door. "If I had to describe the house...it was nothing in the house...I was just looking for people," said Tracy. 

"I remember going to the grand jury and seeing photos and I didn't even remember if I had to describe how the basement was it was nothing in the basement.  I think everybody that was involved in this incident it was just tunnel vision just looking for survivors looking for people."

According to Tracy basic instincts and tunnel vision quickly took over when officers were searching for the girls, a miraculous discovery he and others still cannot put into words.

"Amazement, I mean the words can't even explain when we looked at her face (referring to Amanda Berry) and I looked at my partner and said I think that's her," said Tracy.

"It was pretty shocking and it was miraculous, it was a great day today...I think is a conclusion to it," said Commander Keith Sulzer who was also present.  "Just ear to ear smiles, they probably couldn't believe it themselves that they were out of that house."

With Castro now slated to spend the rest of his life behind bars, both officers hope the girls can finally find some peace.

"I think that was the smart thing for him to do...I think it's a good thing for the community, I absolutely think for us as a community we gotta heal," said Commander Sulzer.

"I have a daughter, she's 16 it could've happened to her," said Officer Tracy.  "I'm just happy for the girls that they're safe and they're home to their families."                        

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