“I love you” - Shooting victim thanks Atlanta officer who saved his life

ATLANTA — An Atlanta police officer saved a man’s life by putting a tourniquet on his leg after he was shot.

Last month, the officer went to the hospital to check on the man and he received an emotional thank you that transcends racial lines.

It all started on a busy Friday night, Sept. 11, with a shooting call at a gas station on Windsor Street in southwest Atlanta.

Officer John Connell found the man shot in the leg and bleeding heavily.

“He was not looking good when I was the first one to show up,” Connell said. “He was kind of going in and out of consciousness.”

Connell’s body camera showed him talking to the victim.

Connell: "How old are you?

Victim: “I’m 30.”

A nurse who just happened to be passing by helped Connell.

“A female nurse came up and actually held pressure on his leg for me, while I was able to get my tourniquet out,” Connell said.

“And from there, you know, I was able to get the tourniquet wrapped up on him and eventually get him down to Grady,” Connell said.

That move likely saved the man’s life.


“I don’t think he would have made it. He was bleeding out very quickly,” Connell said.

Connell stayed by his side until the ambulance arrived.

Victim: “I need air.”

Connell: “Breathe bro, breathe. You’re good. Breathe.”

This is the first time he’s used a tourniquet in the field. Connell says his training as a Marine and at the police academy kicked in.

“It’s just automatic for you to figure out where the wound is, figure out where you need to apply. And I think that’s absolutely key especially in a job like this,” Connell said.

When Connell went to visit the victim in the hospital, as he was recovering, his body camera captured the emotional moment he was thanked.

Nurse: “Do you know who this is? That’s the guy who saved your life.”

Shooting Victim: “I love you.”

It’s a rare thing for someone to tell an officer “I love you,” especially after a summer full of protests against racial inequality and police brutality and it touched Connell.

“I truly appreciate it after going through the protests and everything else. You know, seeing the disturbance between us I appreciated it,” Connell said.

We tried to get in touch with the victim. But he did not give his real name to police so we were unable to talk to him.