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Quick actions of Detroit firefighters helped save toddler who was shot in the neck

Posted at 6:10 AM, Jun 07, 2024

It was an unthinkable act of sacrifice, a 19-year-old mother died shielding her toddler during a shooting outside of their home last week.

Jevon Miller's 22-year-old boyfriend is now facing charges.

Detroit police responded to the shooting last Thursday on Whitcomb and Tireman. Miller's mother also gave a warning about the dangers of domestic violence.

"If you see the signs, get away immediately. Somebody need to know," Tenisha Hawkins said. "Never thought in a million years I hear a phone call like that. I watch it on TV but never that I would actually have to experience it. Ever."

Miller's 3-year-old son was shot in the neck, but he survived because of his mother's final act, and because of the quick action by first responders.

Detroit fire department medical Jacob Heidisch and his partner, Matthew Cunaz, are being called heroes for their actions in saving the boy's life after he was shot in the neck.

"You know, we need to bring more attention to these heroes right there who risk their lives every single day to save lives," Detroit Fire Commissioner Chuck Simms said.

"We got up there. Immediately, I see there's two down," Heidisch said.

They rushed to the home within six minutes of the shots fired call. They discovered Miller shot dead and her son fighting for his life.

"The assessment, you know, there's no pulse. He's anemic. So, I started CPR, initiated compressions right away. My partner comes with the jump bags so we can start giving ventilations. But, there was no time to waste. So, I picked up the little boy, ran to ambulance with him in my arms," Heidisch said.

He feverishly continued working on the boy while Matthew rushed to a nearby hospital. What's more, DFD said relatively new training policy changes may have also been the different in saving the boy's life.

"We started training our firefighters to be EMTs in 2021 when they came through the academy. Now, everyone who starts in the fire department will be trained at a firefighter/EMT or a firefighter/paramedic level," Simms said.

"We've got a phenomenal training academy. And, it starts there. So, everybody's trained. And, we practice and it's repetition. And, we're schooling everyday on everything. So, when that alert goes off, we're ready to rock," Detroit Fire Chief James Harris said.

These service men and women are taking this training and they're putting it into action. Once they get out on the streets, it's minutes and sometime even seconds between life and death.

With the boy's life still hanging in the balance, medic Ryan Teatro met the ambulance team at the hospital.

"We all get out. My partner, Elijah Smith, starts ventilations. Once I pull him out the stretcher and we rush him right into the ER room," he said.

The boy was finally in the care of ER doctors.

"Ryan actually came out of the recess room to ... give me a hug. And, he actually told me…he goes…you did it man. You got him back," Heidisch said.