Military background, quick thinking help Charleston officer save man’s life
Up to his elbows in blood, Charleston police officer Brandon Parker pulled from his eight years of experience in the Army Reserve and two tours in Iraq when he fashioned a makeshift tourniquet, saving the young life of a man injured in a downtown shooting.
About the COPS grant
In 2009, the Charleston Police Department received more than $3 million through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office grant, said police spokesman Charles Francis. The grant is being distributed over three years and pays the entry-level salary for 19 full-time positions. Four of those positions were filled by veterans, Francis said. The grant is scheduled to end in June.
The hiring of military veterans like Parker is something Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said he welcomes — and wants more of.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office has awarded more than $12 billion in grants since 1995 to help law enforcement agencies fill positions nationwide. Charleston received a three-year, $3 million grant in 2009.
Such grants come with and without military stipulations, but Mullen said the 2009 grant helped Charleston police hire four veterans, in addition to other personnel. He said the department will apply for more as they become available.
“One of the things that we really see when we have the opportunity to hire military is they bring a lot of advanced training,” Mullen said. “They bring all that maturity, leadership and knowledge and apply it directly to what we’re trying to accomplish in the community. ... We like to hire returning military veterans not only through grant programs but our normal recruiting process.”
Mullen said he’s seen several of his officers’ military backgrounds pay off, especially in Parker’s case.
“I think that Officer Parker really demonstrated his ability to assess a situation very quickly and maintain his composure in a way that saved that individual’s life, and secure the scene,” Mullen said.
Parker and his partner were responding to call about 12:30 a.m. Sept. 20 at 18 Moultrie St.
As Parker pulled up to the house, an elderly woman gestured frantically toward the home and yelled out to him, “He’s inside! He’s inside!”
He and his partner stepped through the home’s front door and saw 23-year-old Javanti Goodwin lying face-down on the floor in a pool of blood.
He said he could tell immediately that crucial seconds were rapidly being lost.
The scariest portion of that night, Parker said, was seeing that Goodwin’s blood was thick and milky. It had already soaked the carpet from Goodwin’s waist down to his knees, and began to spread out from his sides.
The grave nature of the scene didn’t shake Parker. Instead, he sprang into action with a swiftness that ultimately helped save Goodwin’s life.
Parker pulled Goodwin’s belt from around his waist and fashioned a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. When that belt gave way, he took one from a friend of Goodwin’s that had been pacing the room. Minutes later, paramedics arrived.
“This is a makeshift thing, but it works. It’s performing the same function,” Parker said, recalling that night.
Much of that night is a blur for Goodwin, but he said he remembers being shot in an attempted robbery on King Street, and running to a friend’s home on Moultrie.
“I got to their house and faced down. They called the police and the next thing I knew (Parker) tried to wake me up,” Goodwin said. “I knew I could die because of how much blood I was losing, but I wasn’t trying to think about that. ... I was in and out of it, but I remember him (applying a tourniquet). I knew that he was trying to save me.”
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.