Video shows GRPD officers rushing gunshot victim to hospital

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Grand Rapids police have released body cam footage of a shooting in downtown Grand Rapids near The Woods bar that left four injured.

The shooting happened on July 17 around 1:30 a.m. near the intersection of Oakes Street SW and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, near Grand Woods Lounge.

One of the victims was shot in the head, the Grand Rapids Police Department said in a Monday release. It said two officers put him in their cruiser to take him to the hospital immediately, instead of waiting for an ambulance.

“The heroic actions of Officer Andrew Smith and Officer Laura Saxton during an extremely chaotic and dangerous situation undoubtedly saved this man’s life,” said GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said in the release.

He said GRPD decided to release the edited video “to show the bravery and selflessness” the two officers showed.

“They did not hesitate. They did not seek out or wait for permission. They knew what needed to be done and they acted to preserve life,” Winstrom said. “And after they had transferred the victim to the care of emergency room personnel, they immediately returned to the scene to work alongside their fellow officers. I am honored to serve with them.”

In the body cam footage, the sound of around two dozen gunshots is heard as people run past GRPD officers who were on a separate call.

“Get back, get back!” one of the officers said.

Smith, who has worked for the department for less than a year, told News 8 he thought other officers were taking fire when he first heard the gunshots.

“I had my windows rolled down and I heard a barrage of gun fire coming from the intersection that my partners were at,” he said. “My thoughts were to get to my partners, make sure they were OK.”

Officers in the footage are seen running to where the gunshots were heard. They yelled at people nearby to “move” and “back up.” Screams of panic and cries for help can be heard.

Smith said when they got to the scene, a woman who had been shot in the leg went to him and Officer Saxton. As they were giving her initial care an ambulance pulled up, and they were able to get her in there and headed to the hospital.

As it pulled away, a Sedan came up, Smith said. He said the back seat passenger fell out.

In the video, the officers are seen running over to one of the victims who was lying on the ground. Blood can be seen on his shirt.

“People were like, ‘He’s shot. He’s shot,'” Smith said. “So I run up to him and find out that he has a gunshot wound to the head.”

He said they dragged the gunshot victim to the side of the car.

“We were still taking gunfire at that time,” Smith said.

He said another ambulance would not be able to get to them because there was still gunfire.

“It would be minutes before we could get some medical care and transport to a hospital. Due to that, we grabbed him, we put him in the backseat of our car and we decided to transfer him ourselves,” Smith said. “That was his only real shot of surviving that wound.”

When the gunfire stopped, he and Saxton put him in the backseat.

The body cam footage then cuts to the officers helping roll him into the hospital.

“Stay with me, stay with me. You’re going to be OK, dude,” one of the officers said.

“I think we got him,” the officer says as he runs back out of the hospital. “We’ve got to get back out there. There’s more that we’ve got to get.”

Three others were hurt in the shooting. Everyone survived.

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