04 April 2012

A "Sucking Chest Wound"

From the Cop side:  Somebody at the gun range asked me the other day:”Have you ever seen anybody shot before?” 

What do you think after 32 years?  Sometimes the G.S.W.s (Gun Shot Wounds) was by accident, sometimes an assault (murder, attempted murder etc) and sometimes self inflicted.  Some died, some didn’t.  Most were very sad cases, and one or two it was hard not to laugh.  Some really stuck in my brain and others I’ve sort of forgotten about. 

Way back when I was a rookie copper, I was on swing shift (4PM to Midnight) on a Friday night.  For a rookie copper, that was a great shift because lots of stuff happened….sometimes, in the small city I worked in (which has more than doubled in size since then) we’d just go from call to call and never have time for any self initiated stuff.  Sometimes we’d get preempted form one call to go to something more important…which left me wondering: “how do you tell somebody that you have to leave taking their stolen car report because something more important requires your attention?” 

And as most coppers who’ve worked any period of time can tell you, there are some people you’ll run into during your work that keep “popping up on your radar.”  These are the people who just seem to be unable to stay out of trouble and want to get arrested often.  There were some that I even memorized their date of birth and other required info to check them for warrants without even having to get out of the patrol car---I’d call in the check while driving by them.  “Dispatch, this is L9, can you check Joe Shizdip, DOB 9/1/61 for warrants?”

Since I retired, I’ve forgotten the names of many of those folks, but I’ll never forget how they acted.  Let’s take the case of Jose Juanlung.  He had just been cut loose from prison for multiple felony arrest and convictions.  His arrest record ranged from stealing candy from a baby to attempted murder.  I learned that when somebody got convicted of any “attempted” crime it tended to prove that they were really not even good at being a criminal…just my opinion. 

Anyway, Jose Juanlung had actually been hired by the city I was working for to do labor type work.  You see in those days, the state of California had this brilliant program where they would pay to put former convicts to work.  It was a great idea…but one problem…. Career criminals are that way because they don’t want to work.  So out of the 10 or so that got hired, with in the first week 9 of them were fired for not showing up at work and stuff like that.  Jose Juanlung was one of those who’d been fired.  He was allowed to stay at his parents home until he could either get back on his feet, or get sent back to prison.  I had his parents address memorized because we got called there at least once a day.

The last call I had at that address was for a “GSW, male, laying in the driveway…respond Code 3 and the watch commander is enroute from the station.” 

I was the first to arrive (I often was because I had no common sense yet.)  I found Jose Juanlung lying in the driveway crying.  I went over to where he was and asked what was wrong.  Juanlung said: “I’ve been shot in the chest….get me an ambulance it fucking hurts.”

I looked at him and then ran back to my patrol car and retrieved my first aid box.  I found a small caliber hole in his left side chest and updated dispatch so she could tell the paramedics.  I got out a bunch of bandage stuff, but I saw no blood coming out of the hole…but it was making a funny kind of sucking sound. I remembered the first aid classes I had in the Army and the Police Academy where they taught us about “sucking chest wounds.” And that they were a bitch to treat. 
Well, I put some gauze and stuff over the sucking chest wound as Jose was telling me he was having a hard time breathing.  I told him that might be a problem for the rest of his life since one of his lungs had collapsed.  Then I asked him: “who shot you and where’s the gun?” 

Jose, being a true asshole, said: “I don’t know who shot me.”  Which I knew he was lying.  The medics arrived shortly and started to treat Jose Juanlung as I patted him down for weapons.  (wounded assholes can still hurt you.)  I then went into Jose’s parent’s home to continue my investigation.  The rest of the family was sitting down for a late dinner and acted like somebody getting shot was normal   I asked if anybody had seen or heard Jose getting shot and they all ignored me.  I suspected that one of them had done the deed, but I had nothing to go on, just a gut feeling. 

I went back and checked on Jose and he was telling me now that he’d accidently shot himself in the chest.  I said: “really?  That means you can go back to prison for having a firearm.” 

Jose seemed happy as they loaded him into the ambulance.  After that, we called him Jose One Lung.  I never did find the gun that shot him and nobody seemed to care.  That was over 30 years ago. 


Coffeypot said...

Sounds like a win all the way around. He was crippled and headed for prison, his family didn't have to put up with him anymore and they go a good dinner,and it was one less asshole you had to worry about. A good day overall.

Old NFO said...

I worked a few back in my VFD days, but honestly the ones that were the 'worst' were the knife wounds... Blood EVERYWHERE!!!

Susan Katz Keating said...


Somehow, the word "Salinas" pops to mind....

Susan Katz Keating said...

My last comment evaporated! There must be a "sucking comment wound" on this blog! So... did you tell Jose... "Gee, dude, that sucks..."

Yeah. I haven't had enough coffee today.

Saker said...

My first thought was, "Dammit, you missed a chance to stab him with a big needle!" I find CLS very disappointing, now that they've taken all the sharp objects away...

CI-Roller Dude said...

CP, the only "loss" that night was the long report I had to write.
Old NFO, knife cuts are usually very messy...seen a few of those...most by accidents whilst playing.
Sue, I tried joking with Juanlung, but he didn't laugh...it hurt.
Saker, at that time, I only had basic first aid...did EMT and CLS years later.