MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – Two first responders in Manatee County are being recognized for their heroic and potentially life-saving actions.
Paramedics Carlos Santos and Joe Savasta jumped into action when a Bradenton man they were treating pulled a gun out on them. The first responders were in the process of checking the man’s vital signs. He was initially found unresponsive in his car in the middle of the road.
“I saw the gun. I know what guns do. In the back of my mind.. said get it or we are all dead,” said Santos.
Body camera footage captured the incident as it unfolded in the evening on May 31. The paramedics watched the video for the first time Tuesday.
“I don’t think either one of us would have done anything different. When you are that close to a gun and somebody with the intent to use it, you don’t have the option to back off. Backing off can sometimes lead to a worst scenario,” said Savasta.
In the video, you can see Santos work to disarm the patient as Savasta jumps in to help.
“He is the true hero here,” said Santos. “I dealt with the situation as it was presenting. I had no other choice than to go for the gun. I yelled ‘gun’, he knew the dangers, he knew there was a gun. Instead of going the opposite way, he actually came towards me to help me,” he continued.
Savasta explained why he leapt toward danger.
“That is my partner, that is my brother. I don’t think of him as a friend, I think of him as a brother,” said Savasta.
The duo was honored by Manatee County Tuesday. They were awarded the county’s ACE coin.
“Joe and Carlos are two of many first responders that we employ in Manatee County who every single day go above and beyond for our citizens and put their lives in danger,” said Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge. “I just want to thank them on behalf of the board and…on behalf of all the citizens of this county,” he continued.
“This call could have really gone south had it not been for the quick actions of our paramedics that are behind me today,” said Public Safety Director Jacob Saur.
The Bradenton man who pulled the gun was arrested and charged with DUI and attempted murder.