A 14-year-old boy suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the chest in the Gresham neighborhood earlier this month.
Officer Jorge Cuellar was first on the scene. He tended to the boy as residents brought him towels to help with the bleeding. Officer Christoper Fink arrived shortly after and Cuellar asked him to grab his individual first aid kit.
“It was very chaotic, the young man was very scared, so we were running around trying to do whatever we could to help him out,” Fink said.
Fink started applying combat gauze to the gunshot wound which helps with blood clotting. This quick thinking would become a lifesaving decision.
Ten police officers from the Gresham and Morgan Park districts along with firefighters were honored Monday with a CPD “Lifesaving Award” for their roles in saving the 14-year-old boy’s life.
Fink said the rapid response was something they all trained for, and they did more than apply gauze to the wound. They held the young mans hand and comforted him as he went in and out of consciousness.
Sgt. Alejandro Cabral told his officers to use a vented chest seal which helps with breathing when there is an open chest wound. Firefighter and emergency medical technician Anthony Woods found another chest wound and a second chest seal was applied.
The boy is now doing well, Fink said, and they are staying in touch with his family.
“He’s sitting up, talking,” Fink said. “His mother is very happy and she’s very grateful, and she is is just happy her son gets to come home soon.”
Fink said it feels great helping a 14-year-old boy who “was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The investigation into who shot the boy is still open and active, said Kellie Bartoli, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
Those honored were officers Jorge Cuellar, Christoper Fink, Jonathan Kizer, Abraham Espinosa, Kevin Stapleton, and Angel Rodriguez; sergeant Alejandro Cabral; firefighter/EMT Anthony Wood; paramedic Annette Cioc; ambulance commander Anthony Wilson.
Manny Ramos is a corps member of Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South Side and West Side.