COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - Thousands of people watched 'Live PD' Saturday night as Richland County deputy Chris Mastrianni was involved in a high-speed chase, followed by a struggle with a suspect holding a child.
That included Kassy Alia, the widow of Forest Acres police officer Greg Alia.
"It was like my heart was ripped out. To watch that little girl, I just pictured Sal in that position," she said. Sal is her two-year old son.
Deputy Mastrianni scuffled with the suspect, 22-year-old Brian Martin, all while Martin was holding his 2-year-old daughter. Martin remains behind bars on a $103,000 bond.
"I just cried. It was awful, and I just wanted to run in and just hold her," Alia said about the incident.
But then her thoughts shifted to the deputies involved.
"You know, police come across things like that every day. They're expected, soon after, to respond to another call. How do you do that? This is just one glimpse into being able to understand what they come across every day," she said.
Alia has seen what law enforcement officers go through every day. Her husband Greg Alia was a Forest Acres police officer, who was shot and killed while on duty in 2015.
She said it takes a lot of strength and commitment from the officers, as well as their families, to have their work broadcasted while they're putting their lives on the line.
"I've wondered what if I would have seen Greg on that show. They're incredibly brave to put themselves out there. It shows their commitment to transparency. They just want to help people," she said.
The emotionally-draining event has created a conversation on and off line, and Alia said it's time the community comes together for local heroes.
"I think it's time for us to take more responsibility on the role we play in helping one another," said Alia.
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