Fresh off EMT coursework, couple fights to save shooting victim

Sarah Ketner and her boyfriend, Jake Whorton, were the first to perform CPR on a man who was shot in a movie theater parking lot


By Deke Farrow
Modesto Bee

MODESTO, Calif. — Two people who’ve just completed their EMT coursework put their new-found knowledge to work in a life-and-death situation late Tuesday. When a man was shot in the parking lot of a Modesto movie theater, they were just yards away and were the first to perform CPR on him.

Sarah Ketner of Modesto said she and boyfriend, Jake Whorton, of Riverbank, were sitting in his pickup in the Regal Cinemas 10 parking lot when they heard gunshots. They saw two black cars pull out of the parking lot onto McHenry Avenue.

The couple drove over to see if anyone was hurt. "We saw the man who was shot (lying) face-down. Jake kicked the gun out of arm’s reach of the man while I flipped him onto his back and checked for a pulse. There wasn’t one, so I started CPR and got a pulse back.”

Emergency personnel arrived, took over the lifesaving efforts and rushed the victim to a nearby hospital, but he died from his wounds. Pending notification of family, he has been identified only as a 21-year-old.

Ketner said she saw two gunshot wounds — one to his upper arm, the other to the upper chest.

The crime occurred about 11:30 p.m. in the front parking lot of the theater, north of Union Avenue. The early investigation suggests the victim was among a group of people in the parking lot when the shooting took place, police said.

There are showtimes at Regal late enough that people could have been exiting theaters at the time of the shooting. Police have not said if the victim had been at a movie or was in the parking lot for some other reason.

Ketner lives near the theater and had met her boyfriend in the parking lot to talk, she said. "I saw a couple people come out of the theater — a lady who worked there, and two others," she said. "Also, we watched a man run into the theater as we were pulling up to the man who was shot. The two people who came out were saying it was the man's brother who was shot."

Ketner and Whorton have finished their coursework and are waiting to take the national registry cognitive exams, she said. "I feel really bad and really sad he didn't make it," she said of the shooting victim.

Tuesday night's was the 10th reported homicide within Stanislaus County as of May 15, compared to 16 by the same date last year. In Modesto, it was the fifth reported homicide of the year, compared to eight by May 15, 2017.

Anyone with information on the homicide is urged to contact Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips also can be texted to Crime Stoppers at 274637. Type "TIP704" along with your message.

Copyright 2018 Modesto Bee

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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