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MedStar recognizes Sundance Square security officers who saved downtown shooting victim

August 4,2021

See full Fort Worth Star-Telegram by James Hartley here.

When a man was shot in Sundance Square early on the morning of July 17, three Sundance security officers rushed to the victim and immediately began working to save the 32-year-old’s life.

MedStar ambulance service spokesman Matt Zavadsky said security officers Eddie Montano, Cecilio Castillo and Stephen Gutierrez saved the man.

The three security officers were given MedStar Life-Saver Awards on Tuesday in recognition of their actions.

Fort Worth police said the victim was shot during an encounter with two men who threatened his girlfriend.

The victim and his girlfriend were walking on a downtown sidewalk at West 4th and Houston streets about 12:30 a.m. when two men approached, Fort Worth police said.

One of the men tried to shake the boyfriend’s hand, but he did not immediately recognize it, the girlfriend said in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The men split the couple by walking between them. One of the men grabbed the woman’s arm and said “you’re coming with us,” she said.

One of the men hit her boyfriend in his head, perhaps with a gun, and her boyfriend pushed him. One of the assailants opened fire, and the boyfriend was shot.

Montano called out information over the radio as he ran toward the victim and, just one minute after the shooting, he and the two other security officers arrived.

Montano, Castillo and Gutierrez examined the man’s wounds. He had been shot in the left upper arm, his left leg just above the knee, his lower back and his buttocks.

When they saw there were multiple gunshot wounds, Gutierrez ran to get a medical kit and Castillo used a tourniquet from his duty belt to stop profuse bleeding from the man’s left arm. That’s when they noticed the other wounds.

Castillo used gauze and a large chest wound seal from the medical kit Gutierrez retrieved to patch up the wound on the man’s back and stop the bleeding.

Fort Worth police arrived about four minutes after the initial call and one officer gave Castillo a tourniquet from his duty belt to stop the bleeding in the leg.

That’s when they noticed the bleeding from the man’s buttocks. They were out of gauze and the bleeding needed to be stopped, so Castillo used his finger to plug the bullet wound and stop the bleeding until MedStar arrived, six minutes after the initial call.

Ed Kraus, former Fort Worth police chief and current chief of Sundance Square’s security department, said one of the priorities he has in his current role is to recognize the work of employees who do extraordinary work.

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said the work of Castillo, Gutierrez and Montano shows why she feels safe downtown.

“Do not let a few bad actors deter you from going to beautiful Downtown Fort Worth,” Parker said.

She said the partnership between Sundance Square security and Fort Worth police, along with the leadership of Kraus, makes her feel even safer.

“I feel very safe bringing my own family down here because I know that you’re here,” she said of the security officers. “Be proud of yourselves. This is momentous. You saved a life ... saved a family from losing a loved one.”

The officers also received praise from Ed Bass and Sasha Bass, who said the work of all the security officers help keep alive the family’s original vision of Sundance Square as a safe, fun place to go.

Neil Noakes, the current Fort Worth police chief, said the response of the officers was a perfect picture of how partnerships between police and private organizations and security work.

“We train more together, we work more together, and I think that really shows in the way these officers saved that man’s life,” Noakes said.

Fort Worth police also honored two of their own officers Tuesday afternoon at a city council meeting for saving the life of a shooting victim on July 1 after he was attacked at Rosedale Plaza Park.

Officers Timothy Kinman and Brandon Connor treated the victim, who was facing life-threatening hemorrhaging from both legs, according to a news release from MedStar.

The officers recognized the severity of the injuries and used tourniquets to stop the bleeding. MedStar said in the news release that the victim’s life was saved, but had it not been for the actions of those officers, the victim would likely not have survived.

Because of their actions, the victim was discharged from the hospital and is recovering at home with his family, said Zavadsky, the MedStar spokesman.

“This victim likely would have had a much different outcome if it had not been for the life-saving actions of Fort Worth police officers Kinman and Connor,” Zavadsky told the City Council.

The Sundance Square security officers were presented their awards by Armond Apodaca, the MedStar paramedic who responded to the downtown shooting. The Fort Worth police officers will have their awards presented by MedStar EMT Kory Sonderer and Paramedic Ronni Middleton, the crew that responded to that incident.

Location Mentioned: Sundance Square Plaza