Chattanooga police officer keeps man alive after drive-by shooti - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga police officer keeps man alive after drive-by shooting

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Chattanooga Police Officer Zack Crawford. Chattanooga Police Officer Zack Crawford.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Doctors say a man is alive after a drive-by shooting, only because a brave Chattanooga police officer stepped in to save his life. The man should’ve died within two minutes, but Officer Zack Crawford used his bare hands to stop him from bleeding out.

Crawford told Eyewitness News he was just doing his job, but the way he stepped in to rescue a man from imminent death went above and beyond what his badge requires him to do.

"It's what we signed up for," said Crawford. "We're here to serve the community."

Crawford was one of the first officers at Sandy's Liquor Store on Glass Street Tuesday night, where two men were hurt in a drive-by shooting.

READ MORE | Chattanooga police investigate shooting on Glass Street

"As you walked in the store, the entire floor was covered in blood," the officer explained.

While another officer helped the first victim, Vincent Houser, 37, Crawford followed a trail of blood and found 35-year-old Adrian Atkins bleeding out behind the counter.

"I started taking his clothes off to find where the gunshot wound was at," he said.

The bullet hit a main artery in Atkins' leg. He was going in and out of consciousness, and losing blood fast. That's when the officer's military instincts kicked in.

"I had nothing on me at the time, so I had to use my hands," Crawford said. "I inserted my finger into his upper thigh to try to stop the bleeding."

Crawford was trained to save other soldiers' lives in combat lifesaving school. The thought that he was potentially endangering his own life on Tuesday night never crossed his mind.

"It wasn't until about 2-3 minutes in that another officer walks over with a pair of sterile gloves. That's when I realized I don't have gloves on my hands," he said. "My main concern was the victim at the time. Not the safety of myself."

Without the officer's quick actions, Dr. Matt Neal of Erlanger told police that Atkins would've been dead within two minutes -- long before an ambulance could get there.

"Every day, officers run into danger. They run to the sound of gunshots," Crawford said. "This was just a day that, instead of running to the sound of gunshots, I just tended to the victim."

Crawford has been nominated for a CPD life-saving award.

Chief Fred Fletcher said in a statement: "It is an absolute privilege to serve heroes like Officer Zack Crawford. Not many people can respond to a violent shooting and switch -- without hesitation -- from warrior to lifesaver. I am honored to work with those who can."

Police are still looking for the shooter. Anyone with information should call Chattanooga Police at (423) 698-2525. Tips can remain anonymous.

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