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Officer Saves Boy's Life With Tourniquet Made from Bystander's Belt

By Darryl Holliday | May 11, 2015 7:54am | Updated on May 11, 2015 8:38am

LOGAN SQUARE — Officer Edwin Pagan doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but a local teen who was shot in an artery is still alive thanks to his quick thinking — and the belt of a nearby woman.

The 48-year-old Shakespeare District officer will be one of two Logan Square officers commended by City Council later this month for their life-saving response to a 15-year-old boy shot one week ago at a Walgreen's just south of Palmer Square Park.

Officer Edwin Pagan doesn’t think of himself as a hero, but a local teen will live another day thanks to his quick thinking. [DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday]

Witnesses say they heard a driver yelling gang slogans, and then around 3-6 gunshots, shortly before Pagan arrived on the scene May 4 to find the injured boy scared, jaundiced and bleeding profusely from a leg wound.

Fellow 14th District officer Marlene Rivera was nearby and called the shooting in before making a makeshift bandage out of the boy’s shirt — but the next three minutes were critical as the boy’s nicked artery began to bleed through his wound, Pagan explained Friday.

Recent medical aid training kicked into gear and, in search of a way to stop the bleeding, Pagan commandeered a woman’s black belt to tie above the wound.

“I’m just thinking tourniquet, tourniquet, tourniquet,” he said Friday at the Walgreen’s parking lot, 3110 W. Armitage Ave., pointing out where the boy lay on his stomach. “I jumped out of the car and the whole time I was thinking of my training.”

After cinching the belt tight above the wound, the 40-year Humboldt Park native tried to calm the boy’s fears until an ambulance arrived.

“All I saw was a little boy, and I'm thinking ‘this is someone’s child, someone’s brother;’ he’s probably got a mom and grandmother at home — and I’ve got a 17 year-old son at home,” he said. “And all of this happened within a mile of my home.”

“It was personal for us,” he said of himself and Rivera, who was also raised in the neighborhood.

Officer Edwin Pagan. [DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday]

A City Hall commendation for the officers is in the works, according to the Chicago Police Department. That recognition will join a list of honors for Officer Pagan, who recalled another personal case for him: the shooting of 13-year-old Schanna Gayden at Logan Square’s Funston Elementary School playground, 2010 N. Central Park Ave., in 2007.

Pagan worked on the high-profile case that eventually resulted in charges and sentencing for the killer of Gayden, who is honored with a memorial at the playground where she was killed in gang crossfire. Pagan said he remembers her often, especially while passing the memorial plaque while driving to and from his Logan Square home.

The neighborhood has changed since he joined the Chicago Police Department 15 years ago, he added. The corner where the 15-year-old boy was shot May 4 was once known for its outdoor drug market.

Today, that same intersection is described by residents as "calm and quiet."

Pagan said the boy is expected to recover despite nerve damage to his leg, and said he hopes to check up on his progress down the road. Shakespeare Police Commander Marc Buslik and firefighters on the scene of the shooting said without Pagan and Rivera's quick thinking, the boy likely would have died.

“I don’t feel like I’m a hero, I just did what my instincts told me and what my fathering instinct,” Pagan said.

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