Apr 12, 2013 10:08 PM by Matt Stafford

Soldiers share story from life-saving response

Everything happened quickly Sunday afternoon in Roy Benavidez Park in Colorado Springs. Two men were shot. Both of those men should be okay, but one of them had critical injuries when they left the scene with emergency crews.

"We heard just multiple gun shots," says Spc. Ian Carman with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. He was getting into his car when the noise from the gun shots caught his attention.

While waiting for emergency crews to arrive, people nearby ran to help; five of them were soldiers at Fort Carson, including Spc. Carman. News 5 got to speak with four of those soldiers; they remember every detail of what happened that Sunday afternoon.

"I darted out," said Pfc. Daniel Hinojoza with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th ID. "Didn't even close the door."

"Everybody that was running to it was in the military; you could just tell," said Spc. Anthony Willis with the 4th CAB, 4th ID.

They got there quickly and assessed the scene.

"I went to the one with the most injuries and started helping, doing what I could," said Pfc. Hinojoza.

"It was just a mess," adds Spc. Carman.

The soldiers noticed quickly that one of the men was in far worse condition.

"He was hit over 18 times; twice in the face," said Spc. Willis.

Spc. Willis and Pfc. Philip Hawkes with the 3rd BCT, 4th ID were two of the first people on the scene, and Pfc. Hinojoza and Spc. Carman were right behind them.

"He (the victim) was just mentioning how he wasn't ready to go and he wanted us to do what we could to help him, and we reassured him we'd do what we could," said Pfc. Philip Hawkes.

"Pfc. Hawkes took off his shirt and applied it to his (the victim's) chest," said Spc. Willis.

There was also Spc. Daniel Garcia, a medic with the 4th BCT, 4th ID. He wasn't able to make it to our interview Friday, but gave critical care and instructions to the others at the scene on Sunday.

"He (Spc. Garcia) started throwing things at us from his med-pack and we just used what we could," said Pfc. Hinojoza. They were also using items from home, like belts for tourniquets.

As for the other four soldiers aside from Spc. Garcia, there's a mechanic - Pfc. Hinojoza, a missle tech - Pfc. Hawkes, and two air traffic controllers - Spc. Carman and Spc. Willis. They're not medics, they just used the training that all soldiers receive.

"The Combat Life Saver Course," the four soldiers we spoke with said almost collectively.

"Those skills are invaluable," said Spc. Willis.

However those soldiers didn't expect to have to use their life saving skills at home.

"Being an air traffic controller, I didn't even really expect too much to use it in the battlefield either," said Spc. Willis.

Regardless, Spc. Willis and the others remembered them; they saved one man's life and helped another.

After local paramedics arrived on scene those crews took over.

It was a few days before the soldiers got an update on the victims' conditions.

"I've been wondering this entire week," Spc. Carman said.

Finally they each got a phone call on Thursday; it was from the wife of the man they saved.

"She just called to thank us," said Pfc. Hawkes.

It's hard to put into words what that phone call meant to them. They just want to wish good luck to his recovery.

"Glad you made it, buddy," said Pfc. Hinojoza.

"Yeah, real glad you made it," adds Spc. Willis.

"That's all there is to say right there," said Pfc. Hawkes.

Colorado Springs police are still looking for two suspects in this investigation. They describe them as two black males in their 20s, possibly in a maroon mini van. The van might have been a Dodge. If you have any information, please call the Colorado Springs Police Department at 444-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP (7867).


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