A 17-year-old girl found herself in the midst of a gunfight in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, on the night of October 1, and even put a tourniquet on a wounded police officer to stop the bleeding.
Ava Donegan, a senior in high school, was stopped at a red light with her boyfriend when a shooting suddenly broke out on the road between two Excelsior Springs police officers and a man who had a warrant out for assaulting a police officer.
The driver shot one officer in the shoulder and wrist, while his partner managed to shoot the suspect fatally in the head.
“I saw the cop get out of the car and then I saw him get shot a few times. After that, we both ducked, and he started calling the police,” Donegan recalled in an interview with KMBC.
She said her car was just in front of the shooter’s truck. The wounded officer then approached her and asked for assistance.
“Somehow, I blinked my eye and the cop who was shot was right in front of my car. He was asking me to get out and help put his tourniquet on,” she said. “He told me that it was completely numb, and his hand was completely limp.”
The high school student said at that moment instinct took over.
“Somehow there’s blood all over my hands. Somehow there’s blood on my car,” Donegan said. “When I realized he needed help, it all was instinct.”
Donegan, who wants to study pre-med in college and hopes to become a physical therapist, said she helped the officer put his tourniquet on, remove his vest and radio in the call.
Donegan said she was familiar with the device, as her dad, Devin, is an ICU critical care nurse at University Health in Kansas City.
“It was instantly like a lightbulb. I remember sitting on the couch multiple times and he goes over a tourniquet and how important it is,” she recalled. “So, when the officer said, ‘Can you help me with my tourniquet?’ I was like, ‘Absolutely, I can help you with your tourniquet.’ It was really useful to have that knowledge from my dad.”
According to University Health, they have trained 1,500 first responders on how to properly use a tourniquet. Many of those first responders have now trained their kids how to do it, as in Ava’s case.
Both the wounded officer and the suspect were taken to a local hospital, where the suspect died from his injuries. The officer underwent two surgeries and was awaiting a third procedure, but was expected to recover.
“I’m just glad that he is okay. I think that gives me a good peace of mind,” Donegan said.
ESPD Chief Gregory Dull told KCTV that the wounded officer is young, with less than a year on the job. “He loves being a police officer and [has] a very outgoing personality… He’s in good spirits and he’s already expressed a desire to want to get back to work.”
Dull added that he was grateful for the community’s support in the wake of the shooting, which included bringing the department balloons and trays of food. He also voiced his thanks for the young good Samaritan on the scene.
“Obviously, would like to meet her and express my appreciation personally,” he said. “Sounds like a very impressive young lady.”