Good Samaritan uses belt as tourniquet to save injured Pinetop officer

Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 07:37:39-04

A Good Samaritan who helped rescue an injured northern Arizona officer says he's just thankful for how the police serve their community.

Chuck Coplan was in his pajamas when he heard loud noises in his Lakeside neighborhood.

"Heard a bang and thought it was someone banging on the door," said Coplan.

The late-night wakeup call from just beyond Coplan’s driveway was a shooting that had wounded an officer.

"He said he needed a tourniquet on his leg,” Coplan remembered.

That officer was responding to calls from a distraught mother in Tucson.

Police say she called to report her son, who lives in Lakeside, was drunk and threatening his wife with a gun. Surrounding homes were evacuated immediately.

"The policeman said, 'You folks need to get out, the gunman's barricaded himself in the home directly behind yours,'" said neighbor Dana Hack.

But in front of Coplan’s home, an emergency rescue was underway.

"Once we drug him over behind the pickup, the other officer was there to protect me, he's the one there putting his life on the line," said Coplan.

Out of the line of fire, Coplan bolted inside.

"I just went to my belt rack and grabbed a belt and ran back out. I'm not much of a medical person but read enough books, I knew a belt would make a good tourniquet,” said Coplan. “So I ran out, wrapped it around his leg, and pulled it tight."

The move worked to stop the bleeding.

Coplan also attempted to keep the officer calm in those scary moments.

"I actually asked him if he was a hunter and told him I had a nice quail hunting trip this weekend," said Coplan.

In the wake of that chaotic night, Coplan isn't looking for gratitude. Instead, he'd like to extend his own to the officer who almost didn’t go home that night.

"I would like to meet the young man and shake his hand and thank him for protecting my community," said Coplan.