A quick-thinking Columbus police officer kept a woman from bleeding to death after a rifle accidentally discharged in the parking lot of Home Depot.
For his actions, Officer 1st Class Christopher Snipes was selected as the December Officer of the Month for life-saving actions at 2891 Sowega Drive on Dec. 6.
Police Sgt. Vincent Dragnett, the officer’s supervisor, said there is no doubt in the minds of other police and emergency medial personnel at the scene that Snipes’ actions saved the woman’s life.
“Snipes used his own personal equipment to provide aid and was not phased when presented with a situation that caused his hands and arms to be covered in another person’s blood,” Dragnett said in a statement. “Officer First Class Snipes’ actions are worthy of praise and his service to the community and the Columbus Police Department are greatly appreciated.”
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The emergency occurred after the woman and her boyfriend were loading their pickup truck after shopping. The woman was standing by the rear door of the truck and placing items near a 7 mm rifle when the weapon discharged. A bullet struck the woman in the upper left thigh, causing severe bleeding from damage to her femoral artery.
A witness removed his belt and wrapped it around the woman’s leg in an attempt to stop the loss of blood but wasn’t successful. With the woman’s life clearly in jeopardy, Snipes retrieved his personal tourniquet from his duty belt and applied it to the wound, stopping the rapid blood loss.
With the tourniquet in place, Snipes ran to his cruiser and grabbed a compression bandage to prevent further blood loss. Emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene and transported the woman to Midtown Medical Center where she was in stable condition.
Snipes’ schedule recently changed to work the midnight shift. He was unavailable for comment.
During the same period, Elaine Gray was recognized for her efforts in helping to screen new applicants for jobs at the police department. Selected as the Employee of the Month, she was hired after the department launched a new online job application system, which has experienced a 200 percent increase in the number of applications.
“I love it,” Gray said of her job. “To me, it is a blessing. I’m meeting people and helping people.”