Trained EMT saves man during shooting, honored by Denver medics

Jake Pucci had completed EMT training six months earlier in his bid to become a firefighter when he assisted a shooting victim outside his home

By Rachel Engel

DENVER — A man was honored by Denver Health Paramedics for his actions during an active shooter incident in June. 

Jake Pucci heard gunshots and cries for help this summer, whose apartment faced the alley where the incident occurred, and who had recently finished EMT training at Denver Health, FOX 31 reported

"I was on the phone with my dad, drinking some coffee. I had my windows open. I saw this man run through a gate, he was yelling. Unfortunately, I saw the gunman open fire. I saw bullets hit the concrete all around him, bullets hit him, then I heard him scream and fall and cry for help,” Pucci said in an interview with FOX 31. 

Pucci rushed to the aid of the man, Darian Simon, borrowing a belt from a nearby construction worker to use as a tourniquet. His actions did not go unnoticed by first responders on the scene. 

“He’s a special person. It takes a lot to step in and help somebody out in that chaotic of a situation because most people want to hide and protect themselves. He thought of other people and not just himself," Denver Health Paramedic Natasha Wierlhe said.  

At Denver Health Paramedics annual award ceremony, Pucci was awarded the Legion of Merit, an honor usually reserved for a licensed paramedic. 

“When I heard Denver Health was giving me this award, I was completely shocked. I mean, these guys are my dream team. I grew up in Denver, always idolized Denver paramedics. They are some of the top in the country. To hear they wanted to honor me with an award for something I haven’t even talked about with some friends of mine was mind-blowing," he said in an interview with FOX 31. 

The experience also reinforced his resolve to pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter, he said. 

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