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Portland officers help save gunshot victim’s life with tourniquet

The scene was chaos. All the officers knew was that someone had been shot and needed their help


Photo/Sean Curtis

By Suzie Ziegler

PORTLAND, Ore. — Two Portland police officers were recently credited with saving a man’s life. It was chaos when they arrived at the scene.

“All we knew for certain was somebody had been shot,” Officer Justin Raphael told KGW. “It was clear that he was in grave condition. He was going in and out of consciousness.”

Officer Tyler Wyatt said he and Raphael didn’t even know if the shooter was still nearby.

“We had to make a decision to sacrifice our own safety in those moments and go into this scene to begin to save a life,” said Raphael.

Both officers carried Individual First Aid Kits, which they immediately pulled out. The man had been shot in the thigh through his femoral artery, according to KGW. Wyatt packed the victim’s wound with gauze while Raphael applied the tourniquet.

“At one point, he just asked if I’d hold his hand, which was a pretty intense moment,” said Raphael. “I did and I just told him, ‘Hey, keep squeezing my hand. Stay with me.’”

Raphael said he held the victim’s hand until he was loaded into an ambulance minutes later.

[RELATED: 6 tips for effective tourniquet training]

“I think that gets lost on a lot of people. That sometimes as officers, we’re the first component of that emergency aid,” said Wyatt.

According to KGW, it’s becoming more common for officers to help victims before medics arrive as gun violence in the city rises. So far this year, 66 people have been hurt by gun violence in Portland, compared to 388 in all of 2021, police said.

Raphael and Wyatt haven’t heard from the man they helped, but this is what Raphael would say to him if he got the chance: “I’m glad you’re still with us. I would do it again. I’m happy you’re here.”