Lawmen save gunshot victim from bleeding to death
CHESTER » A city man is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds — thanks to four law enforcement officers who applied a pair of life-saving tourniquets to stop him from bleeding to death.
City Police Chief James Nolan IV said city Police Detective Capt. James Chubb, city patrolmen William Carey and Terrance Taylor, and Chester Housing Authority Lt. John Fetzer will be commended at the next city council meeting for their actions on April 20 in saving 35-year-old Michael Peace.
“The paramedics said if they hadn’t been there to do what they did, he would have bled to death,” Nolan said.
Chubb, down playing his role in any heroics, said Friday it was Fetzer who provided the tourniquets and Carey and Taylor who evaluated and applied them, while he tried to keep the victim calm.
It had been a busy night for city officers. When the report for shots fired in the area of Third and Jeffrey streets came in at 7:23 p.m., Chubb was on his way back to police headquarters from the scene of a fatal shooting on Clover Lane. Chubb got as far as about the 700 block of Booth Street when he switched gears and raced to the scene some 15 to 20 blocks away.
Taylor, who was on patrol when he heard the call, was first on the scene, with Chubb pulling up immediately behind.
Chubb said the initial call was quickly upgraded to a one-vehicle accident in the area of Union and Jeffrey Streets. The call was upgraded again to include a subject shot.
At Jeffrey and Union, the officers found a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix on the sidewalk.
“It jumped over the curb and landed on the sidewalk in front of someone’s house in the 2000 block of Union Street,” Chubb said.
There was no one in the car. Nor was there anyone in the street.
“Suddenly,” Chubb said, “someone came up and said, “Someone is shot over there, pointing toward Yarnall Street, one block east of Jeffrey.”
Describing the area, Chubb said Jeffrey and Yarnall are divided by Union, which is an alley.
Chubb said he was close by his car and drove to Yarnall, while Taylor ran to the location. They arrived on Yarnall Street at about the same time.
The officers found Peace sitting in the doorway of a residence in the 300 block of Yarnall.
Peace was conscious and talking. “I’m shot,” he told the officers. Peace then said, “I’m having a hard time breathing.”
The officers did a quick assessment. The victim’s pants were soaked in blood, Chubb said.
At that point, the officers had time only to establish that Peace had been shot at least once. As they were focusing on the victim’s leg wound, Carey and Fetzer arrived at the scene, Chubb said.
Chubb noted that as patrol officers who are typically the first responders to a scene, Carey and Taylor deal with this type of emergency situations frequently. As captain of detectives, the 28-year veteran said, “This is rare for me.”
Carey, Chubb said, quickly determined that they needed a tourniquet for Peace’s leg. Fetzer immediately went to his vehicle and returned with at least two devices.
“Taylor applied the tourniquet,” Chubb said.
Chubb then motioned to Carey that they needed to remove Peace’s sweatshirt to look for possible additional wounds.
“He was a wearing a white Tshirt underneath. It was soaked in blood,” Chubb said.
But the officers couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from, at first.
“We found a hole in his left arm,” Chubb said, adding that Taylor then applied a second tourniquet. Throughout the ordeal, Chubb said he was talking to Peace, trying to keep him calm.
When the paramedics arrived, they found a third wound.
At the scene, Chubb said the officers were focused only on the victim’s wounds, not the specifics regarding the shooting incident.
“Later at the hospital, I knew we could resume the investigation into the shooting,” he said.
Two days later at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, when detectives arrived to interview Peace about the shooting, they told him that law enforcement officers saved his life.
Peace said he remembered one of the officers. He didn’t know him by name, but he described Taylor, according to Chubb.
Peace has since been released from the hospital.
Chubb said Friday that the investigation into the shooting was ongoing.
According to Chubb, Peace was a passenger in the car. He and his girlfriend, who was driving, had just left her mother’s and were on their way to the girlfriend’s house in the 300 block of Yarnall Street.
The car was moving when shots rang out. Peace and his girlfriend both bailed from the car, and apparently ran in different directions but eventually met up on Yarnall Street.
Authorities believe the wounded Peace was trying to make it to his girlfriend’s residence, but collapsed in the stranger’s doorway.
The girlfriend, who was uninjured, was taken by police to the hospital so she could be with her boyfriend.
Both Nolan and Chubb lauded the efforts of the patrol officers, both for their abilities and the way they executed them.
“They did an excellent job in rendering first aid and saving his life,” Chubb said.
“This is an incident that shows our officers are about more than enforcing laws,” Nolan said. “Our police officers in Chester do a lot more that what is normally spoken of … this is an example of the fine things I see our officers do on a daily basis.”
City Detective Joseph McFate is leading the ongoing investigation into the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to contact McFate at 610-447-8428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chester life savers, from left: Chester Housing Authority Lt. Robert Fetzer; Chester Officer William Carey; Chester Capt. James Chubb; and Chester Officer Terrance Taylor.