When Avondale Fire Department Capt. Christopher Spire heard the gunshots, he was off duty with his family inside a sandwich shop in Glendale.
But he went to work anyway.
Officer Destiny Ebersohl was one of the first on-duty officers to respond and treat two of the injured victims. When 16-year-old Destini asked Ms. Ebersohl about her first time — Destiny with a “Y” or an “I” — Ms. Ebersohl knew the teen would be okay.
Now, the city of Glendale has recognized the two first responders for thrusting themselves into action during a shooting that left three people injured. And the mothers of two of the victims thanked them for their efforts.
On Thursday afternoon, Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and Fire Chief Terry Garrison presented Life Safety Awards and proclamations to Mr. Spire and Ms. Ebersohl for their actions in the May 20 shooting at Westgate Entertainment District.
“You certainly were somebody’s destiny that day weren’t you,” Mr. Weiers told Ms. Ebersohl.
On May 20, Glendale police said a 20-year-old Peoria man went to Westgate and fired multiple rounds, striking three people. Alfredo Jaime, 19, has been in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the chest. Destini, 16, and a 30-year-old woman both had non-life threatening injuries.
Ms. Ebersohl described her response to the scene, having to drive faster than normal and getting her vehicle stuck between barriers. She exited her vehicle and was directed two of the shooting victims — bystanders were already helping them. While running to their aid, Ms. Ebersohl was offered help by Mr. Spire — a firefighter of over 20 years in Avondale — who triaged the scene over the phone to the Phoenix alarm room.
While at Which Wich, Mr. Spire initially thought the sound of gunfire was a hammer banging against a wall. But he quickly came to the realization that an active-shooter situation was unfolding.
“I immediately got all the patrons in the building, pushed them to the back of the building, made sure that my family was safe, then went back to the front of the door,” Mr. Spire said Thursday. He then notified a nearby Glendale sergeant that he was an off-duty medic. Mr. Spire was handed some equipment, ran towards Johnny Rockets, and helped provide aid to Alfredo Jaime and Destini.
Ms. Ebersohl also provided life-saving efforts with the use of her police-issued patrol trauma kit. The kits include chest seals for gunshot victims, tourniquets, gauze, pressure bandages, and several items necessary for an immediate tactical medical response before it is safe enough for firefighters and medical personnel to come into an active scene.
“This week has been pretty mental, it’s taking a toll,” Ms. Ebersohl said about the situation. “She’s young, she’s a juvenile. It definitely took a toll on me... It definitely gets you.”
Alfredo Jaime is expected to recover and return home. His mother, Magdalena Jaime, was hopeful her son would be able to come home Thursday, but his return had to be delayed due to complications that she said will be resolved.
“We’re just waiting to have him home, to see him, to hold him,” she said. “But he’s doing a fast recovery despite the injuries he has.”
Ms. Jaime said she continues to see the good in people, given the support she and Kathleen Bain — Destini's mother — have received since the shooting.
On Friday, Glendale also honored citizens Kelli and Randy Hammit for jumping in along with Ms. Ebersohl to provide first aid before paramedics arrived.
"Their work is an example of the compassion people still have for others," Glendale police stated. See their ceremonies below.
Suspect facing dozens of charges
According to police and records, the suspect was likely prevented from inflicting more harm because his weapon malfunctioned. Officers encountered and arrested him without further incident or injury.
Police confirmed a video posted on social media was from the suspect, who probed Westgate before returning to his vehicle to retrieve an assault rifle.
According to police, court documents and a Maricopa County prosecutor, the suspect was seeking respect due to being bullied throughout his life. He apparently became angry when he couldn’t obtain a certain item from a restaurant or see a movie at a local theater. The 20-year-old was reportedly targeting couples.
He was jailed in lieu of a $1 million bond and was indicted on over 30 counts, including charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm, criminal damage, disorderly conduct and endangerment.