Last Updated: Jun 24th, 2014 - 11:19:49


Soldier ran toward sound of gunshots
By Amy Perry, Fort Lee
Jun 20, 2014, 11:02

AMY N. PERRY/FORT LEE Staff Sgt. Dusty Griffin, a squad leader from the 111th Quartermaster Company, rushed to give medical attention to his neighbor in Colonial Heights who was shot in an attempted robbery June 2.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — After an attempted robbery left an elderly man with gunshot wounds, a Fort Lee Soldier quickly came to help the victim and provided first aid until the paramedics got to the scene.

The shooting happened in the 100 block of Biltmore Drive in Colonial Heights on June 2.

Staff Sgt. Dusty Griffin, a squad leader from the 111th Quartermaster Company, said he got home a little after 6 p.m. and had finished dinner when he decided to go outside to smoke.

“As I was standing outside, I heard three pops,” he said. “It was real quick, like bam! bam! bam!”

At first, Griffin thought the noise was firecrackers but quickly dismissed that notion when he remembered they were illegal in Virginia, except on a few major holidays. He started across his lawn to investigate.

“I was at the end of my yard and I saw a guy run and jump in a vehicle,” he said. “The car took off but slowed down as it passed me.”

Griffin said he was concerned that there would be additional gunshots at his house, but the driver of the vehicle just took off down the road.

“At that point, I was worried that someone was injured based on the number of shots and the location of the gun fire,” Griffin said. “My instincts kicked in, and I just ran down the street.”

Only 5-6 houses down the block, Griffin saw an elderly man with a chest wound and he immediately went into action.

“I had just gotten off work; I was in my tan T-shirt, no hat or anything,” he said. “I saw he had been hit and my training kicked in. I took my T-shirt off, ripped it up, put it over the wound and had him apply pressure to it while I ran back to my house to get my medical kit.”

Griffin used the medical kit – the same one the Army issues to Soldiers before they go downrange – to apply a pressure dressing on the wound and then let the paramedics take over once they arrived.

Prior to serving as a mortuary affairs Soldier, Griffin was a combat engineer with two deployments under his belt. He said he feels the annual combat lifesaver course all Soldiers take really helped him be prepared for the situation.

“CLS is all designed around how to treat people with combat-related wounds,” he said. “You can’t get more combat-related than a gunshot.”

This isn’t the first time Griffin has used his Army training to help others in need. Once, when he was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., Griffin was headed home on leave and was the first on the scene of a wreck.

“A lady had run off the road, and the cops weren’t even there yet,” he said. “I had my medical gear in the car with me because I always travel with it. I got out and ran over to help her. I didn’t even think twice about it. I made sure the lady was OK – she was in shock – and I called the police department.”

Although his training has helped him developed life-saving skills, Griffin said he would have tried to help out, regardless.

“Training kicks in, but I also look at the way I was raised,” he said. “I was raised to help someone in need. The training definitely helped, but even if I wasn’t in the military, I would still have stuck my neck out to help someone.”

Although Griffin said he’s not sure of the health outcome of his neighbor, he hopes his contribution made a difference.

“I reacted, and I did what I thought was best,” he said. “EMTs got on site and took over. I’m not an expert, I’m not a doctor. If it helped saved the man’s life, I’m glad.”

Griffin has received a lot of attention around his company and from friends and family, as well as around the local community due to news reports that applauded his efforts

“People joke around here as well as my friends and family on Facebook, and they call me a hero,” said Griffin. “I’m not a hero. I was just a Soldier who was in the right place at the right time to be able to help someone. That’s the way I see it.”

Two men have been charged in the shooting and robbery.

Both suspects have been charged for Monday’s incident.

Nicholas Colburne-Garrett, 18, of Petersburg, was charged with two counts of robbery, malicious wounding, conspiracy and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Derek Alphonso Jackson, Jr., 20, of Dinwiddie, was charged with two counts of robbery, conspiracy and the use of a firearm in the commission in a felony.

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