Man helped by guardian ‘Angel’
Woman’s actions credited in saving gunshot victim’s life
The identity of the heroine whose quick actions helped save a man’s life after he accidentally shot himself in the leg has been discovered.
Angel Nelson, 34, of Indian Head had no intention other than to shop at the Dollar General that fateful morning. Though she had no medical training, when she saw a man suffering from a bullet wound in the parking lot, she didn’t hesitate, grabbing a man’s belt and running outside to apply a makeshift tourniquet that she later learned saved him from bleeding out. The bullet had severed his femoral artery, she told the Maryland Independent.
Had it not been for Angel, the man probably would have died, store employees said, adding that a detective came by to update them of his condition the next morning.
On April 3 around 9:18 a.m., deputies of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the Dollar General parking lot, located in the 4300 block of Indian Head Highway, according to authorities. Investigation showed that the man remained in the truck while his wife was shopping inside of the store, and when she
returned, she discovered him bleeding heavily from an apparent gunshot wound.
The sheriff’s office is not releasing the man’s identity at this time as the investigation is ongoing.
“… investigation showed the victim kept a loaded handgun in his car and it appears he was looking at it when he accidentally shot himself,” a sheriff’s office press release states.
“She [the wife] was yelling, ‘call 911,’” said Whitney Washington, a cashier at the Dollar General. “The lady started taking him out of the car, rushing, trying to get his pants off, trying to figure out where the wound was.”
“I didn’t even know he was shot, he just looked like he was passed out at first,” Washington continued.
Angel gave her account of the incident.
“I remember going through the store and hearing commotion up at the front,” she said. “I heard, ‘somebody’s shot, somebody’s bleeding, tell her not to move him.’”
When she got closer, Angel saw the wife covered in blood in the parking lot as she pulled his pants down trying to find the wound.
“The first thing that popped into my head was ‘tourniquet,’” she said.
After quickly discarding her purse and groceries, she grabbed a bystander’s belt, ran outside, and discovered that he had a bullet wound just above his knee.
“I took the belt and wrapped it around the top part of his thigh,” Angel said. “So, I squeezed the belt as hard as I could, put my knee on it,” all while trying to calm the wife down as she watched.
In the surreal moment, Angel managed to keep her composure.
“Somehow I was pretty calm through all of this,” she continued. “I’m not the type of person who’s calm, so for me to stay so calm … I give all that glory to God, because he was the only one keeping me calm through that.”
“It was like something out of a movie. I’ve never seen that much blood in my life,” Angel said. “I can remember just praying. I was probably praying out loud.”
Again, she thanked God as two Charles County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Pfc. Mark Bourgeois and Officer Bryan Chamber, arrived shortly after and took over, using an agency-issued tourniquet kit until EMS personnel got to the scene.
“I stayed with the wife the entire time, and tried to talk to her and everything,” she continued. In the back of a police cruiser, “I told her, ‘we need to pray; we need to pray.’ I grabbed her hands and … I placed her forehead on my shoulder and placed my forehead on her shoulder and just prayed, and prayed, and prayed.”
When the wife found out her name was Angel, she broke down again. “Are you serious?” she asked.
Since the incident, Angel has stayed in frequent contact with the wife, a new lifelong friend, she said.
“They’re just extremely grateful that God put me there at the right place, at the right time. I still have to pinch myself; I can’t believe I did all that. I don’t have any paramedic training or anything. I kind of giggled and told my husband, ‘I guess all those survival shows I watch paid off.’”