Man helped by guardian ‘An­gel’

Woman’s ac­tions cred­ited in sav­ing gun­shot vic­tim’s life

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­

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.’”

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