When Officers Justin Raphael and Tyler Wyatt responded to a call about a shooting, they had very little to go off of.
“All we knew for certain was that somebody had been shot,” Raphael said, according to KGW-TV. “It is clear that he was in grave condition. He was going in and out of consciousness.”
As soon as they arrived, people were yelling for help and directing them to a downed man who was lying in a pool of blood outside an apartment door, a gun near him on the ground.
The officers didn’t know what exactly had transpired. They didn’t know if the man was dangerous. They didn’t know if the shooter was still around. But what they did know was that this man was bleeding out and would certainly die if they didn’t attend to him first.
“We have to make a decision to sacrifice, kind of, our own safety in those moments and go into this scene to begin to save a life,” Raphael said.
The man had been shot in the leg, his main artery damaged. The injured man was bleeding out and dying, and Officer Wyatt said he was asking “if he could take a nap.”
“It was still just kind of gushing out of him,” Officer Wyatt explained, according to KOIN. “His pants were completely soaked. So we don’t know at this point if the shooter’s still there, what’s going on really.”
Making the decision to assist the victim first, the officers grabbed their Individual First Aid Kits and drew on their training to attend to the man.
Wyatt took the hemostatic gauze and packed it into the wound to stop the bleeding while Raphael applied a tourniquet to the man’s leg.
“At one point, he just asked if I’d hold his hand, which was a, a pretty intense moment,” Raphael said. “And I did, I held his hand and I just told him, ‘Hey, keep squeezing my hand. Stay with me.'”
“At this point it’s a matter of he’s going to have to go into surgery 100% to get this solved but we need to give him a little bit more time,” Wyatt said. “So anything we can do to give him more is going to help increase his chance of living.”
Raphael kept his word and kept holding the man’s hand until medics arrived, took over and loaded the man onto the ambulance.
While the officers haven’t spoken directly to the man they helped, they know they gave him a fighting chance thanks to their medical training.
“I think that gets lost on a lot of people,” Wyatt said. “That sometimes as officers, we’re the first component of that emergency aid.”
Raphael has a message for the victim, too.
“I’m glad you’re still with us,” he said. “I would do it again. And I’m happy you’re here.”
The investigation is ongoing and so far no arrests have been made.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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