Three local women help save gunshot victim

By Josh Beavers

Mr. Fred Rogers, one of the wisest of the wise sages in American history, once told us heroes are those who, in the face of danger, run towards the fray rather than away. 

Well, the fray was in the Sunshine State, down Panama City way, on Saturday when three local heroes responded to a shooting on the beach in the only way heroes know how. 

“We were sitting on the beach, and we heard what we thought was a fire cracker,” said Melissa Gutierrez, a registered nurse from Minden. “Everyone was looking around, and then people started screaming and running.”

According to the local media, one person was shot at the Majestic Beach Towers on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach Saturday afternoon.

Officials said at 3:20 p.m., Panama City Beach police received a call about the shooting. When police arrived at the scene, they found a woman with a gunshot wound on her legs. 

The woman was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition. That last part was thanks to Melissa as well as her sister Hillary Butler and friend April Pamintuan. 

 “We stood up and my sister Hillary first noticed the teenage girl on the ground,” Melissa said. “They were set up directly next to us. Hillary screamed that she had been shot, so me and April joined Hillary and ran over and we put pressure on her gunshot wounds.”

All three ladies are nurses and knew what had to be done. They didn’t run away from the danger but rather toward the injured young woman. Aid was needed as a life was in peril. 

“It had grazed her arm and then went through both legs, and the bullet was still in one leg,” she said. 

Another friend called 911, and the three local heroes talked to the injured woman and kept her from bleeding out as well as kept her calm until paramedics arrived. 

“She was with a group of teens and they were scared to death,” Melissa said.  “The shooter was still in the building at this time, and we had no idea if they would start shooting again.  One young guy ran over and just started praying over her.  Once EMS came for her we were instructed to go back to our rooms, and the hotel was on lock down, and they turned off the elevators.”

The police made an arrest, and Melissa said they were told it was a person mishandling a gun who had inadvertently discharged the weapon.  

Some time later, the local trio was contacted by the girl’s mother. 

“She said that her daughter will make a full recovery, thankfully,” Melissa said. 

Of course, no one but the One Above knows what would have happened to the young woman had our three local heroes not been there. 

Yet, I would hazard to guess He may have perhaps, just perhaps, placed those three heroes in just the right place at just the right time so they could save a life. 

People say He works in mysterious ways, but sometimes we can see Him moving as plain as day.