Editor’s note: This story contains a graphic description of a pediatric GSW.
A couple of years ago we responded to a residence on “gunshot.” No info was given other than to stage until the LEO’s had the scene secure. Once PD arrived the tone in their voices changed to almost panic as helicopter was recommended.
I was the lead medic and first medical provider on scene. I went inside the home with my jump kit and monitor. While my partner and junior medic grabbed the rest of the gear. We had an engine crew of 4 that arrived shortly after us. When I walked into the home the odor of blood and gunpowder hit my like a slap in the face. The look of sheer horror on the officers told me this was a bad one.
All gun shots are right? Especially self inflicted ones. They were escorting a male in his 20’s out in cuffs as well as a high powered hunting rifle. I entered the bedroom and saw two officers sobbing. What I saw next will haunt me until the day I die. I saw the patient was a 9-12 month old infant that had been basically decapitated. The wall behind the child looked like a horror movie scene. Blood and brain matter still dripping down the wall. No need to even check vitals.
I was horrified as I heard my partner dry heave and run outside. We all exited the home and found the lead LEO and asked what happened. The male being escorted out was the child’s father. He was in a custody dispute with his soon to be ex-wife. He was going to kill himself and the child. After he shot the child with a .308 he didn’t go through with killing himself. Since he was suicidal he needed to be taken to the ED for a psych eval. We had to call in another agency to transport him. I don’t think we could have handled the transport professionally.
I was very angry and sad at the same time. Full of sorrow and rage. I had a toddler at home and all i could see was his face. I immediately called my wife so i could hear his voice. Then i sobbed. In my rig with my partner. Then at the station with my crew. Our chief called in CISD team the next morning. I still smell the blood and gunpowder. I see the child in my dreams. I lose sleep still rehashing it.
I went to court when the guy plead guilty and accepted life without parole. They sought the death penalty but he avoided it by pleading out. My Crew was there to support this young mother who had her only child slaughtered. It helped us get closure by being there for her. We’ve kept in touch per her request. A couple times a year the crew goes and does a service project for her. It helps us and she says it helps her to know she’s not alone and the memory of Brayden will live on.
– Story written by Jackson, paramedic. 20 years in EMS.