HOUSTON -- There was so much blood on the bathroom floor and walls that Harris County Sheriff Office deputies who arrived at the scene of the shooting didn’t know where most of the wounded man’s bleeding was coming from.
“Hey, hey, what’s your name; keep talking to me,” Deputy Donald Landry told the man, who was lying on the floor. The man seemed to be losing consciousness. Then, suddenly, the deputy identified the potentially fatal wound: a gunshot in the area of the femoral artery of the man’s right leg.
“… Dude, give me that tourniquet, give me that tourniquet; that’s where he is bleeding out, bro!,” Laundry shouted to a colleague. Landry then began to apply a black strap, methodically and forcefully twisting a piece of the device called a rob as the bleeding began to recede.
That was the second wounded man that Landry helped save at a shooting on Dec. 30 in the Northshore area. His actions, including using the tourniquet, were captured on his bodycam.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on Wednesday shared the video from Landry’s bodycam with the public, while also announcing that all patrol officers have completed a program that trains them on how to use tourniquets.
On January of last year, the agency began to distribute 500 combat application tourniquets to front-line deputies, Gonzalez said. All of the 900 patrol officers have received training, from a one-hour crash course for senior deputies on how to apply tourniquets to 16 hours for all cadets and new hires.
“This training represents a major evolution in law enforcement,” said Gonzalez. He explained that in the past, policing agencies have focused only on locating and eliminating threats to public safety, leaving the treatment of wounded people exclusively to medical service providers.
The young man seen in the video bleeding in the bathroom later told investigators that he felt losing consciousness and feared he would die, until Laundry stopped the bleeding, Gonzalez said.
The wounded man went from being silent and non-responsive to grimacing and then becoming alert, the latter part not seen in the video, the sheriff said.
Gonzalez added that initiatives like this one that focus on saving lives are becoming a trend nationwide, partly as a response to an increase in mass shootings.
“Officers are too frequently finding themselves in mass casualty situations where fast action can make the difference between life and death,” he said.
Officers from other local law enforcement agencies also receive training on tourniquets, mostly as part of their first aid courses.
The Houston Police Department received 500 tourniquet kits from the Memorial Hermann Health System last year. At the time, HPD Chief Art Acevedo said the medical tool makes a difference for officers who respond to tragic situations where seconds can mean the difference in saving lives.
Sheriff Gonzalez now wants the Houston community to be prepared for potential emergencies.
“What we also want to do is find a way to educate our community and partner with others for this, so we can tell families that if they experience some injury, or crash or shooting or something, they could apply (tourniquets) themselves,” Gonzalez said.
Deputy Chris Wells, with the sheriff’s patrol training unit, said tourniquets can be applied with any strong band such as a belt.
“Basically, what you're trying (is) to get something tight enough on above where the injury is so you can stop the blood flow,” Wells said.
Wells recommended that people look for videos online from reputable sources explaining how to apply a tourniquet.
Landry, a veteran with combat experience, has a suggestion as well.
“The key factor is, just breathe,” he said. “Take a deep breath, assess the situation and then go and do what you need to do to save someone’s life.”
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