MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police are searching for answers after a gunman opened fire outside a motel in the Medical District, striking his victim three times.
“We came into work at two,” Memphis Police officer Caleb Ervin said. “This was later in the evening.”
On May 29, 2021, Ervin said he and his partner were a mile away from the medical district when the shooting happened.
“In between calls, we go to the Mapco at Danny Thomas and MLK, which is where we were talking to the clerk and getting something to drink,” he said.
The first call came in around 10 p.m.
“Some kind of disturbance I think. Not sure. We get in the car and start going up Lauderdale to go to Union,” he said. It put them even closer to the second call that came in.
“Shooting at 210 South Pauline at the Motel 6,” is what they heard come over the radio.
He said they were less than a mile away. So, they were told to make the scene.
“Lights come on. Sirens come on. We take off,” Ervin said. “On shootings, they dispatch more than one car, but we beat everyone else there.”
He said there was a crowd out front when they arrived.
“Half on the sidewalk and half in the parking lot, the victim is on the ground. There’s a decent size pool of blood. Really bright red. They’re hollering, ‘He’s been shot! He’s been shot!'” Ervin said.
The victim was shot three times in the hip, hand and leg.
“So my only thought was I have to stop this victim’s bleeding. I hollered at my partner to bring my bag out of the trunk,” Ervin said.
The kit was full of first aid supplies including a tourniquet. It’s used to apply pressure to stop the blood flow from a wound.
Most of the blood was coming from the leg, so Ervin applied the tourniquet there, something he learned how to do in the Navy.
“They taught us how to put a tourniquet on, how to apply chest seals, things like that. Also when I went through the academy, we had a block of instruction. Same kind of stuff,” he said.
Eventually, paramedics arrived at the scene. The victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
“It was determined, I think they said, he lost 2-2.5 pints of blood,” he said. It wasn’t until later, that he found out the victim would survive.
“The fact that he made it, it had, what’s the word I’m looking for, it calmed me down a bit I guess,” Ervin said.
Ervin said he couldn’t find the words either when the department recognized him. In April, he received a lifesaving medal for his actions that night.
“Humbled, honestly, because I was just doing my job,” Ervin said. It’s a job he was just starting. He and his partner have recently graduated from the academy.
“I was really glad I was there,” he said.
WREG reached out to the victim but never heard back.
The gunman was arrested. Police say he had opened fire because the man was with his ex-girlfriend.