Townville Student Remains In Critical Condition After Blood Loss During School Shooting

The most grievously wounded victim of a school shooter in South Carolina is clinging to life.

A 6-year-old boy wounded in a school shooting in South Carolina is clinging to life.

The Greenville News reports that relatives of Townville Elementary School student Jacob Hall released a statement late Thursday saying the boy is on life support in a hospital.

The family says the child sustained a major brain injury due to the amount of blood he lost after being shot in the leg.

Older brother Gerald Gambrell tells the paper the family is “hoping for a miracle.”

A sign outside a diner conveyed the sentiments of an entire community: “Pray for Jacob. Pray for Townville.”

I have prayed for Jacob Hall, his family, and Townville, and I will again.

I’m also going to pray that someone like me (or better yet, someone more trained and experienced than I currently am) is nearby the next time something like this happens… and not for the reason you may think.

While the Defense Against Street Crimes class at Gunsite Academy taught me a lot about how to shoot moving targets in crowded environments with lots of innocent bystanders (a very useful skill to have against street crimes or active shooters, to be sure), the part of the class that left the deepest impression for me was the medical brief provided by lead instructor Bob Whaley, a retired SWAT commander who learned first-hand from a trauma doctor.

[RELATED: Gunsite Academy: Defense Against Street Crimes]

My “everyday carry” (EDC) is now much more capable as a result. Excluding my wallet, phone, and keys, this is what I have on me when I leave the house.


Top to bottom, left to right we have:

That kind of thing is entirely expected. The rest of my kit may be unusual to most.

It is because I’ve had some exposure to tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) that I carry the latter two items with me now everywhere I go. I know that have a much greater likelihood of using them at some point to save a life than I probably will my firearm.

Firearms are good at solving problems posed by the threat of violent people, but once the threat is neutralized, there is still the likelihood that someone may need medical care. There’s also the possibility of household accidents, occupational accidents, and the kind of event I seem to have a particular talent for finding, single vehicle incidents and vehicle collisions.

Basic TCCC training and items like a good tourniquet (I have a strong preference for the combat proven previously mentioned SOFTT-W or the equally good North American Rescue CAT tourniquet) and hemorrhage control dressing may be the difference between you being able to stop the flow of blood so that someone has a chance to live long enough for EMS to arrive, or them not really having a good chance.

I have to wonder if anyone around Jacob Hall had a tourniquet and TCCC training. I strongly suspect that was unfortunately not the case, and I’m haunted by the possibility that he could have retained more blood and be in much less dire straits today if someone had a CAT or SOFTT-W and could have used to to stop the bleed.

If you carry a gun to save lives, please consider going the long extra mile of learning to save lives, and make the gear to do so part of your EDC kit.

Here in the Raleigh/Fayetteville area there are two classes being offered in the near term by retired Special Forces combat medic Mike “Witch Doc” Voytko for SOB Tactical. There’s a two-day advanced trauma management course on October 29-30, and a basic trauma management course on November 19. Both classes are being held in Sanford, NC.

Taking a 1 or 2 day tactical medicine class in your area may be the most important training you ever get.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for considering it.

Update: It is my sad responsibility to relate the unfortunate fact that Jacob Hall passed earlier today.  The bullet that struck the femoral artery in his thigh caused 75% blood loss, and he could not oxygenate his brain.

Please get TCCC training. Please carry a quality tourniquet and pressure dressing on your body or bags, have them in your vehicles, and on every floor of your home. It isn’t inexpensive, but the life you might be in a position to save one day is invaluable.