Officer Joshua McEwen saved a life and gained a friend in October. He also earned an honor Thursday.
McEwen was one of more than 140 officers, investigators, federal agents, detectives, corrections officers and civilian operatives honored for outstanding service Thursday at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s commendation ceremony.
The ceremony drew an audience of hundreds to the Metro’s 400 Martin Luther King Blvd. headquarters. Commendations were awarded in categories including life-saving, meritorious service, community service and unit meritorious service.
In October, McEwen responded to a shooting and helped saved Juan Carlos, a husband and father of two young children. It was McEwen’s second lifesaving effort that day.
Two men approached Carlos, who’d been helping a friend move, and demanded money. He thought the men were joking; they weren’t.
“They said if I didn’t give it to them, they’d kill me,” Carlos said.
They shot him twice in the leg.
McEwen responded to the shooting and found Carlos lying in a pool of blood. Less than half an hour earlier, McEwen and his partner had helped treat a man suffering from gunshot wounds, saving his life.
McEwen used Carlos’ belt to fashion a tourniquet; McEwen was missing his own belt, having used it as a tourniquet on the prior shooting victim.
“They struck his femoral artery,” McEwen said of Carlos’ wounds. “He wasn’t conscious, he had no pulse, and he was bleeding out.”
Medical personnel took Carlos to the hospital and McEwen left the scene thinking he was dead.
He wasn’t. The next day, McEwen was told that — thanks to his efforts — Carlos had survived.
“I went to visit him the next day,” McEwen said.
After handing out the awards, Sheriff Joe Lombardo told the crowd, “Now you see why I have a smile on my face when I have the opportunity to come down here and present those awards.”
Metro Sgt. Jeff Clark said, “This is a chance for us to showcase to the public the best of what we have to offer.”
Officers Kenneth Salisbury and Paul Solomon were commended for exemplary service after searching through debris from a fiery bus crash to recover a foreign tourist’s wedding ring. The tourist died in the crash and the officers presented the ring to the tourist’s widow.
Nearly 100 individuals were commended for helping to apprehend thieves who had rigged stolen vehicles to crash into law enforcement vehicles valleywide last summer.
Twenty-one commendations were awarded for unit meritorious service in an undercover measure called “Operation Wrecking Ball.” Recipients included Metro and Henderson detectives, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, and a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper.
On Thursday, Carlos said he was grateful to McEwen for saving his life.
“I’m here today with a hero,” he said, smiling at McEwen as their families embraced around them.
“I’ll take ‘friend’ instead,” McEwen said.
Contact Christian Bertolaccini at firstname.lastname@example.org and 702-383-0381. Follow @bertolaccinic on Twitter.