May 15--When Broward Sheriff's Deputy Osvaldo Petitfrere met Key Biscayne Police Officer Nelia Real, she was trying to hold back blood that was flowing from a bullet wound in her neck.
"It was pretty severe," said Petitfrere, 32, a U.S. Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq.
He was among four happy but reluctant heroes who spoke Monday at the Broward Sheriff's Office about the May 10 gunfire and rescues on Florida's Turnpike.
That's where investigators say David Bradley, 23, of Miami Gardens, wounded Real, who stopped to help crash victims, and Gabriel Martinez, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office director who was shot in the arm.
Both are expected to recover, their bosses said.
Also healing is BSO Deputy Enid Conley, 23, who swerved to avoid a car as she drove to the shootings and broke her leg in a crash at Sheridan Street and Interstate 95, Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said.
Bradley's two-county crime spree included two carjackings and the robbery of a Pembroke Pines barber shop before he shot himself to death in front of gridlocked rush-hour commuters, officials said.
The FBI said its investigation is continuing.
Petitfrere and Martinez were among officers from Sweetwater, Miramar and other agencies who responded to radio calls about the chaos.
BSO Deputy Giovani Zamora, 31, and Sgt. Heriberto Granado, 51, chased Bradley on foot before Bradley committed suicide, Lamberti said. The deputies and BSO Chief Daniel Cummings, 61, were also praised for aiding Martinez.
Lamberti said that while performing first aid, Petitfrere also shot at Bradley.
Petitfrere's triage training told him Real, 54, was bleeding too heavily to wait for an ambulance.
The seven-minute race to Memorial Regional Hospital in his patrol car felt like a half-hour, Petitfrere said, because other drivers got in the way. Real was sitting up using her IPad when the two met at the hospital Sunday.
A barbecue is planned and Petitfrere said he has a new pal for life.
He also deflected attention from himself. "I lost friends in Iraq," Petitfrere said. "To have died in the line of duty, military, law enforcement, those are my real heroes."
L[email protected], 954-356-4233 or Twitter @LindaTrischitta
Copyright 2012 - Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.