August in New York City is typically very hot. But this Saturday was a bit cooler than the typical day and the streets were busy as people tried to take advantage of the cooler day to run errands and just enjoy the city. It was shaping up to be a really great day. Until the Chase Bank alarm started to blare. Then all hell broke loose.
Two masked men emerged, headed for a red Dodge Charger that had just squealed to a stop. Suddenly, gunfire was heard and people began screaming as a New York cop fired a couple of rounds at the gunmen, missing. The gunmen turned, opening fire on him and the crowd he had emerged from. The cop and six other people were pushed back and dropped to the ground as the automatic rifle flowed a stream of bullets in their vicinity. One man in the crowd, a dark-haired, late twenty-something guy in a white button-down shirt, jerked as he was struck, but then dived behind a minivan that had stopped when the commotion started. The man then took another diving roll into an alley, as a few more officers emerged from the pizza joint where they were all having lunch. They, too, were met with heavy fire and fell to the ground as they were stuck.
The man in the white shirt stepped out from the alley, with a round aluminum garbage can lid in his hand. Flinging it as if it were a frisbee, the lid flew like a bullet down the street, striking one gunman in the right eye. His head fell back and his body followed, hitting the car, then the street. Another gunman turned toward the man, opening fire again, moving toward his fallen partner. Then, he grabbed a duffle bag lying next to the fallen bank robber and flung it into the car. As he started to open the door to climb into the Charger, a large block of cement barricade, crashed down on the car, just in front of the driver, crushing the windshield and engine, halting the car. Steam appeared from the front of the car. Instead of getting in the car, the gunman reached into the car for the duffle bag, now realizing his getaway car, and driver, were out of commission. As the gunman emerged, the man in the white shirt was standing there, with his hand on the barrel of the gun.
“Hi there,” the man in the white shirt said. “Give it up. You know that’s not yours. And I kinda trashed your ride,” he said, with a sly grin.
The gunman struggled to aim the gun at him, but the man in the white shirt easily jerked the gun out of the man’s hand, then used the butt to strike the thief, rendering him unconscious. He fell to the ground and the man in the white shirt backed up, allowing him to fall face first onto the concrete.
Turning back, the man in the white shirt ran over to the crowd. Many of the victims were alive, writhing in pain from gunshot wounds. The man in the white shirt removed his shirt, ripping the buttons and tearing the shirt into shreds. He started with a woman, about forty, using part of the shirt, folded to create a thick pad, he pushed down on a wound to her stomach. She was conscious, so he said, “Hold it tight over the wound. Do your best to ignore the pain, but keep it as tight as possible.”
The man moved to another, younger woman. She was holding her leg, which was bleeding profusely. The man ripped one of the arms off of his shirt and tied it around her upper thigh to reduce the blood loss. He picked her up and sat her upright against the front of the pizza shop. “Stay awake,” he said. “Focus on the clock over there, count every second until help arrives. I want to hear you counting while I check these other people.”
“What’s your name?” the woman asked.
“Brian,” said the man. “Now start counting!”
“Thank you, Brian,” she said as she looked at the clock in front of the bank. “22, 23, 24,” she started counting.
Brian turned to an elderly man who was holding his shoulder, while leaning against the wall. “Don’t worry about me. I’ve been shot worse than this. Help that guy.” He was pointing at one of the cops.
Brian moved over to the cop. He had been hit in the stomach and wasn’t moving. Brian felt for a pulse and found one. He ripped open the officer’s shirt and looked at the wound. It was pretty bad, bleeding heavily. The pizza shop owner ran out carrying a red box.
“I have a first aid kit,” he said as he looked down at the cop. “Oh my god! Chuck!” he exclaimed as he dropped to his knees opening the kit. He grabbed a gauze pad and ripped it open, pressing it to the officer’s wound. “Chuck, man, you gotta hang on!”
The officer opened his eyes slightly, “Gino,” he said, “you gotta get back inside, these guys are killers.”
Gino said, “They’re all down. This guy took care of ‘em.” He motioned to Brian.
Brian, turned away, “Keep that bandage on tight so he doesn’t bleed out!” With that, Brian moved on to another woman.
The woman was unconscious, bleeding from the stomach. Brian ripped her shirt to find a wound like the cop’s. He grabbed a couple of gauze bandages, ripped them open and applied pressure to the wound. Then, he sat her up against the wall, ripped her shirt open and pulled it over her head with one hand, while keeping the pressure on her stomach. When the shirt finally came off, we wrapped it around her and tied it tight, then wadded the body of the shirt over the bandage to apply as much pressure as possible.
Police cars and ambulances had begun to arrive, as Brian turned his attention to a small girl, lying face down in the fetal position holding her head. When Brian touched her shoulder, she jumped a bit.
“Are you hurt?” Brian asked the girl. She lifted her head and looked at Brian.
“I don’t know — I don’t think so,” she said looking over at a guy who was not so lucky. “Is my Daddy okay?”
Brian moved over to the guy, who was laying on his side, crumpled, facing the sidewalk. Brian rolled him over revealing a chest wound. Brian grabbed his wrist to find had a very weak pulse, and then opened his shirt to reveal the wound in his lower rib cage. He ripped some of his shirt to create a bandage and applied pressure. Just as he did, a paramedic arrived and asked Brian to step aside.
Brian stood up, then helped the girl to her feet. “He’s in good hands now.” He took her hand and walked over to another paramedic. “This little girl belongs with him. Will you make sure she’s okay?” The paramedic nodded. Brian turned back to the girl, “Stay with him. Do you want me to call your mother?”
“Yes,” she said, as tears rolled down her face.
“Do you know your number?” He said as he pulled out his smartphone.
“201-555-3211,” she replied, now trembling.
Brian dialed the number. A moment later, he said, “Hi, I’m here in New York with your husband and daughter. Your daughter is fine, but your husband has been shot and is being treated by paramedics. The paramedics will be taking them to Bellevue, I think.”
He tapped the phone and then put it into his jeans. Brian looked at the girl. “Stay with this guy and your father.” He released the girl’s hand and started walking away from the bank.
“Hey buddy!” someone shouted from behind him.
Brian stopped briefly, then continued walking. There was enough help here now.
“Hey, we need to talk to you. Stop!” the man said again.
Brian picked up the pace. Time to move on.