Lansing, MI -(AmmoLand.com)- Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Ken Kovach helped save the life of a St. Clair County man Monday who had accidentally shot himself with his pistol.
Kovach was the first on the scene of a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound at a residence in Wales Township, which is a community of roughly 3,000 residents, situated about 50 miles east of Flint, along I-69.
The unidentified 51-year-old male, who works in a military capacity, was at his home doing laundry with a Star 9 mm pistol holstered to his leg.
The pistol fell out of the holster, struck the concrete floor and discharged. A round from the weapon struck the man’s right bicep and continued through his arm and out the other side.
Dispatchers summoned police and emergency personnel to the scene at 1:37 p.m.
“When CO Kovach arrived on scene, the victim had made his way from the home to the outside of the dwelling, where he was laying on the grass, bleeding profusely,” said Sgt. Todd Szyska, a DNR area law supervisor for three counties, including St. Clair.
With the loss of blood, the man was in poor condition and worsening.
Kovach took a combat application tourniquet, which DNR conservation officers carry on duty, and applied it to the man’s arm, stopping the bleeding.
“Officer Kovach was able to, within 4 minutes of receiving the call, get this tourniquet applied,” Bigger said.
By the time emergency personnel from Richmond Lenox EMS arrived soon afterward, the man’s condition had improved and he was stable. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries and later released. He was recovering at home today and is expected to make a full recovery.
In line with common practice for all shooting incidents, accidental or otherwise, the incident is being reviewed by the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office in Port Huron.
“This lifesaving effort by officer Kovach is another fine example of the great work our conservation officers do on a consistent basis,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division chief Gary Hagler.
Michigan conservation officers have unique training in a wide variety of areas related to the protection of Michigan’s citizens and natural resources.
This includes extensive training in game, fish, and trapping enforcement, recreational safety/enforcement and first-aid. They also receive extensive training in firearms, precision and off-road driving and survival tactics.
Kovach, who began his law enforcement division career with the DNR in 2002 patrolling Oakland County, serves the department as a precision driving instructor, a survival tactics officer and a field training officer.
He also worked in Lapeer County before moving to St. Clair County, where he has been for the last five years.
In addition to their enforcement duties, Michigan conservation officers also serve the public in life-saving capacities, including ice-rescue, search and rescue and first-aid. Often, and especially in rural communities, they are the first to respond to an emergency.
About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.
For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.
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