The priority tone screams out of my radio, we get a call for a “Man down”. Man down calls are very common, I wouldn’t say routine because there is nothing routine about our career, nothing. Every call is fluid as dynamics change rapidly and have to be compensated for. I open the slip on our MDT (car computer) and in the notes section the call taker wrote that a man fell off his bicycle and was lying in on a sidewalk. We were only a block or two away and we were there almost as fast as the call came out.
My partner and I exited the vehicle and approached the man. The man was getting himself up and brushing off his pants and jacket. We exchanged greetings and asked him if he was ok. The victim was alert, conscious and breathing. We updated the dispatcher of the condition of the victim and she in turn relayed the information to the fire department’s dispatcher who then updated the responding fire apparatus. The man started getting upset when the fire truck and ambulance arrived on location. You might be asking yourself why a fire truck would be appropriate for a man who fell off of a bike? The answer to that is not all ambulances have a certified paramedic on board, and fire trucks or engines do. The responding ambulance carried two EMTs or emergency medical technicians. EMTs are medically trained and certified however Paramedics can perform advanced lifesaving techniques and are allowed to administer medication, as EMTs are not. On this call the EMTs wanted the victim to go to the hospital to get checked out. The victim refused at first. My partner and I could not see any blood coming from his head or body, however there was one very small spot of blood on the victims collar that looked relatively fresh. The spot of blood looked like he cut himself shaving and used his collar to wipe the blood off. We ended up convincing him to hop in the ambulance and my partner and I helped him get his bike in the back. I remember the victim and I laughing about how he fell off his bike and had to go to the hospital but I assured him that it was in his best interest. They transported the man to a local hospital where he died.
The victim died of a gunshot wound to his head that none of us could see, not even the paramedics. The gunshot is what made the victim fall off of his bike. He got right up, talked to us for about 10 minutes, got a ride to the hospital and died. An x ray revealed a small .22 caliber round lodged in his head. The doctor couldn’t believe it and neither could we. My department launched an investigation to investigate if responding members violated any procedures. The investigation revealed there was no misconduct in the responding officers, it was just an unfortunate homicide. Being in patrol really shows officers how precious life can be, and how fast it could be taken away. Fall Out.