WHITEHOUSE — Police officers often deal with distraught people, but Whitehouse Police Officer Shawn Johnson found himself administering a life-saving tourniquet Thursday morning when a distraught man identifying himself as an Iraq war veteran slashed his own arm with a broken bottle to end his life.
“No one cares about me,” the man can be heard saying on dash cam video, which captured the incident as it unfolded Thursday shortly before 7 a.m. at Hillcreek Park on Lake Tyler.
Whitehouse Police Chief Craig Shelton said Johnson and Officer Craig Halbrooks responded to the call originally dispatched as a Tyler Police call because they were closer.
“Someone called in that a man was bleeding very badly in the area, so our officers were sent due to us being closer than the officers from Tyler. They didn’t know what they had until they got on scene,” he said.
Johnson said as he entered Hillcreek Park, a motorist told him a man was bleeding and walking down the road.
When Johnson pulled up he could see the man covered in blood and ordered the man to put his hands up and then checked him for weapons.
Johnson asked the man what was wrong. The man replied he didn’t want to live.
“No one cares,” he said.
Johnson replied, “That’s not true or we wouldn’t be here.”
Johnson radioed dispatch and told the dispatcher to send ambulance quickly because the man was losing a lot of blood.
As Johnson talked toward the man, he squatted down and noticed the bleeding increase and he told Halbrooks to get his medical kit from his car.
Johnson went to get his own medical kit and quickly found a tourniquet and applied it to the man’s arm.
An ambulance pulled up almost simultaneously and paramedics began attending to the man.
Shelton said he was proud of his officers.
“We received a call from Tyler police, thanking us for Johnson’s help, they also stated that Johnson’s quick thinking and putting the tourniquet on the male saved his life because he would have bleed to death,” he said.
Johnson and Halbrooks said they were just doing their jobs.
“When he told me no one cared about him, I told him we cared, and we do,” he said.
Shelton sent a letter to the Whitehouse city council and the mayor informing them of his officers’ actions.
“I’m proud of them, and this shows there are so many aspects to our daily jobs. Unfortunately we are seeing more people, especially veterans, with these types of problems. We try to keep our officers trained in how to deal with any situation, but if he wouldn’t have done what he did, that young man might have died,” he said.