July 21, 2014 Updated: July 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm
As the cop guided his vehicle away from the chaos, making his third emergency run of the night to University of Colorado Hospital, he could hear the labored breathing of the injured young man in his back seat — "the most god-awful sound," as he would later describe it.
That 23-year-old victim, Caleb Medley, was bleeding from the head after a shotgun blast from a gunman whose July 2012 rampage through an Aurora movie theater would leave a dozen dead and dozens more wounded.
In the back seat, Caleb's blood mingled with that of victims from the previous two trips until, by the end of the night, the cop could hear a horrid sloshing emanate from the vehicle's floorboards.
But in the moment, he worried about that first god-awful noise growing faint.
"Don't you (expletive) die on me!" he screamed at the Florence High School graduate.
And then, to his relief, the sound of Caleb's tenuous breathing returned.