Cleveland Co. deputy credited for saving man shot by own booby trap

Deputy opens up about saving man's life

SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - The Cleveland County Sheriff’s office gave an inside look to how one of its deputies saved a man’s life in one of the most interesting situations we’ve seen so far this week. On Tuesday, a man in Shelby was shot in the arm by his own booby trap and struggled to stop the bleeding before first responders arrived.

Cleveland County Deputy Shawn Staton showed WBTV how he took a piece of equipment called a tourniquet to save 69-year-old Edwin Smith’s life.

“You’ll tighten it as much as you can and it’ll stop the bleeding,” said deputy Staton during the demonstration.

It was at this at a home on Blevins Drive in Shelby where the tourniquet had to be used after Smith got caught in his own booby trap. His arm was severely shot in the process. In a 9-1-1 call that’s been heard around the county, Smith told an operator the accident happened when he stepped outside to feed a squirrel, but forgot about the traps.

“The [explicit] squirrels did me in buddy,” Smith proclaimed to the operator.

It’s obvious by the many trespassing signs and cameras that surround Edwin’s home, he’s serious about protecting his property. But some of his neighbors don’t understand why he goes to such great extent.

“There’s no crime on this road. It’s a very quiet neighborhood,” said Jennifer Vanpelt who lives close to Smith.

Now that Deputy Staton has had time to wrap his head around that high tense situation, he say he knows if it weren’t for that tourniquet, things could have ended a lot differently for Smith. It’s possible Smith knows that too because he took time to say his last goodbyes while he was waiting for help.

“Just tell everybody I love them okay," Smith said during the frantic 9-1-1 call.

"I’ve never seen nothing like it. That’s a call that’s going to stick with you no matter what,” confessed deputy Staton.

The sheriff’s department has only ever used a tourniquet one other time within the last four years. All officials in the department carry one in their cars and go through related training about two times each year.

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