A Pennsylvania police officer is being called a hero after saving the life of a gunshot victim by rapidly transporting him to the hospital in a dramatic rescue.
West Chester Officer Aaron Davis was at the scene of the shooting just a minute after he heard the gunshots in the early morning hours of January 26.
According to West Chester Police Department officials, Officer Davis responded to the scene of a shooting at around 2:18 a.m. on High Street near the city’s historic courthouse.
In less than one minute, Officer Davis located the victim and loaded him into his police cruiser.
Davis then immediately transported the wounded man to Chester County Hospital.
Officials say there were tense moments as the 21-year-old victim was in cardiac arrest and had a severe abdominal wound. The life-saving efforts by doctors and nurses restored the man’s heartbeat and stopped the bleeding from the punctured aorta.
The victim was subsequently airlifted to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center for further treatment.
A surgeon at the center said that if the officer had waited for an ambulance to arrive, the man would surely not be alive today.
The victim underwent multiple surgeries and remains in critical condition.
West Chester Police Chief Jim Morehead praised Davis, a veteran officer with 19 years on the job, for his actions.
“I felt the need to tell the details of this event to show the good that police do,” Morehead said. “The acts of this officer started 19 years ago when he took an oath to protect and serve all people of West Chester and East Bradford.
“Officer Aaron Davis certainly did just that with respect and compassion. Job well done!”
Police Lieutenant Josh Lee also acknowledge Officer Davis’ heroic efforts.
“It’s what we are out there to do,” Lee said. “As police, we are honored to be able to serve, and this is a perfect example of that service at its finest. This is another example of an officer doing everything he was supposed to do.”
Shortly after the shooting, police arrested suspect Vaughn Yanko, 22.
Yanko was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
Reflecting on the night in an interview, Davis said he started his shift posted in a central location at the corner of Market and High Streets, waiting for the bars to empty.
What began as a regular night turned into something he did not expect.
“By 2 a.m., I thought we’d breeze through the night,” Davis said in an interview. “Sometimes, sporting events dictate how our nights will go.”
Shortly after Davis heard rookie officer Ryan McMillen yell, “Shots fired! Shots fired!”
“People were running from the danger, and Officer McMillen drove straight into the danger zone,” Davis said.
Davis immediately realized the peril the gunshot victim was in as he was internally bleeding.
“He could have died right there at the scene if we had waited for an ambulance,” Davis recalled.
Davis, who has saved lives before – in one case pulling people from a burning building and another time after a person fell through ice – said he was at the right time and right place.
“You never know what his journey is,” Davis said. “Everybody’s got a story, and hopefully, he will be around to tell it.”
Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste also spoke on the heroic event, crediting the officers’ extensive training.
“I am proud of the manner and quickness in which the men and women of the West Chester police force responded,” DeBaptiste said. “Their extensive training, intuitive response and mindset, along with their commitment to seeing the humanity in everyone, sets our officers apart from many other forces across the country.”