Security executive helps save stabbing victim's life

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DETROIT—Iverify president Mike May was onsite in late May doing a risk assessment for a client, a large, urban retail store here, when a gang of youths attacked, and brutally beat a lone individual. May’s quick action—prompted by 10 years of law enforcement and EMT experience—very likely saved the victim’s life.

“I was in Detroit with a national account manager of ours and we were doing some risk reviews of a client who had experienced a significant number of robberies as of late … Because this was one of my core accounts, I thought I would go up and visit in person,” May said. “We were standing 15 to 20 feet inside the front door and an 18- or 20-year-old man comes in with a female, and I could see, coming across the parking lot, a very large group—12 to 15 people all wearing white tee shirts following the man and woman—and as they got to the store, they all came through at once and then spread out across the front of the store. And I said to the manager I was with, ‘This is a problem.’”

May said everything happened very fast as members of the pursuing group fanned out in the front of the store and began yelling at the lone man and woman. May began to move toward the group, which had surrounded the lone man and pinned him in behind a cash register. “They were angry, they were yelling and they immediately chased him down and they began beating him pretty badly … I was assessing what could I do to mitigate this without becoming a combatant myself. They’d pinned him behind a register and were beating him pretty severally. And I thought the best thing I could do would be to remove a few of the guys from him,” May said. “I grabbed one of the attackers from the side and behind and dragged him backwards. I saw one had a knife out and I saw him start to stab this guy in the left side, and he stabbed him through the arm—hit the artery—stabbed him about three times in his ribs and then stabbed him in the hip.”

May continued to pull attackers off of the victim and eventually got the bleeding individual free from the pack. The victim was able to break free and run. May followed and steered the victim into a back stockroom. “I wanted to get him into a defensible spot, so I dragged him into a back corner of the stockroom and with some help from a store associate got him laid down on some cardboard. I sent the associate out to get some baby wipes and towels,” May said. “We elevated his feet and started compressions and basically treated him for shock. He had five deep penetrating stab wounds.”

The police showed up inside of 10 minutes to find the attackers had fled. Asked why he would put himself in danger and get involved, May said it boiled down to his training and a belief in Iverify’s mission. “It was a very difficult situation, and one where you’re either going to stand there and do nothing or you were going to get into the middle of it—I mean, they were clearly intending to kill this kid and I feel if it had gone on for another minute, that’s what would have happened … If that were my son I’d want somebody to step in and help,” May said. “It was scary after the fact to see all our video—there was a lot of blood. The prior law enforcement and EMT experience I had was helpful.”

May said Iverify uses and will continue to use the footage of the incident as a training tool, to prepare monitoring agents for the types of incidents they could possibly encounter while monitoring clients. “They need to understand just how violent the situations can be and how important it is that when we’re voicing down to a site and we’re communicating with these folks we realize just how much they might be at risk,” May said. “It’s good for them to understand these situations are very real and very palpable, and it drove home the message that these things can happen at any time, and we have a real obligation as we’re the ones providing security.”

The victim did survive his ordeal, despite being in critical condition upon arrival at an area hospital. However, May said the ending, while it certainly could have been worse, was still not completely happy. “Unfortunately, he would not identify who the folks were that attacked him, even though he clearly knew who they were, and the PD was not going to prosecute, irrespective of the fact that we had imaging—their pictures clear on the video,” May said. “The PD’s policy is that if the victim is not going to identify, then they’re not going to bother to prosecute. You know, that’s a pretty negative statement about how bad the environment has to be before people will step in and do the right thing.”