A tourniquet had been sitting in Chicago Police Officer David DeLeon’s vest since he finished police academy two years ago.
He was finally forced to use it — and to call on his training — earlier this week to help save a 15-year-old boy at the scene of a South Side shooting.
“The more you do it, it’ll help you stay calm,” a collected DeLeon said Thursday outside CPD headquarters. “I didn’t think of it. It just happened so fast.”
About 8 p.m. Tuesday, the police department’s ShotSpotter gunshot detecting system picked up five rounds near 43rd Street and Dearborn. DeLeon and his partner pulled up and found the boy down on the street, bleeding from his right arm, according to police.
DeLeon whipped out the tourniquet — a two-foot-long strip of velcro — and got to work staunching the blood flowing from the teen’s arm.
Paramedics eventually arrived and gave kudos for the wrap.
“They basically said, ‘You saved his life after that,’ ” said DeLeon, a 16th District patrol cop serving in the CPD’s summer mobile patrol unit.
“It’s very rewarding knowing that a mother didn’t lose another child to gun violence in the city of Chicago. It feels really good.”
The boy, who told investigators he heard gunfire while standing with a group in a parking lot, was stabilized at Comer Children’s Hospital, police said. No arrests have been made.
DeLeon credited his optional tourniquet training, saying it was the first time he’s had to put it into action on the street.
The police department has drawn criticism for not requiring officers to render first aid or to carry emergency supplies like tourniquets, though it would be required under the proposed draft consent decree for CPD reform.