Wilmington police officers use tourniquets to save lives after string of shootings

Updated: Dec. 6, 2019 at 4:26 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As of Friday night, eight people have been shot in nine different shootings across Wilmington, all in less than two weeks.

Officers had to use a tourniquet, a device used to slow down bleeding, to save the man’s life Wednesday when he was shot during an incident that investigators believe was drug-related.

It was the third time in the past two weeks officers had to use a tourniquet on a gunshot victim, which is far more frequent than usual.

“I wouldn’t say it’s that common but it’s very prevalent in this day and age right now. So just knowing. I never thought I would ever do it. But Thanksgiving Day, 10 in the morning, there I am. The need and the know-how is there. But will every officer in the country have to do it? Probably not,” said Wilmington Police Officer Andrew Pagan.

Pagan responded to a shooting near the Creekwood community on Thanksgiving Day where he found a man bleeding heavily.

“I didn’t think about anything. I just put the tourniquet on him, tightened it down as hard as I could, rolled him over and checked for other bleeds to see if he had any injuries to his back, his front, his legs. But he didn’t so he only had the one wound to his left arm,” Pagan said.

Pagan later learned his actions saved that man’s life.

“The ER told my supervisor that if I didn’t put that tourniquet on him he would have passed,” he said.

Pagan says officers need to know a basic level of first aid in order to help save lives in these situations but encourages community members to learn basic first aid too.

“Every civilian should go to basic first aid and carry a medkit in their vehicle. You never know if you pull up on a wreck. It could be rural and it takes time for EMS or law to get out there and you can stop the bleeding on anybody because anything could happen, you never know,” he said.

**Editors note: The initial story noted eight shootings were in the last two weeks in Wilmington. The story has been updated to reflect a ninth shooting reported Friday at 8 p.m. **

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