FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL) — Two U.S. Army Rangers who acted heroically last month during a downtown Columbus shooting were honored Tuesday afternoon at Fort Benning.
On Jun 11, Sgt. Michael D. Abuan and Staff Sgt. Jason R. Palma – both of the 75th Ranger Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Alpha Company – were eating with friends at The Loft on Broadway. They heard multiple gunshots and moved into place to help two shooting victims.
Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson recognized the two soldiers in front of the Ranger Memorial, reading a proclamation calling Tuesday Sgt. Michael D. Abuan and Staff Sgt. Jason R. Palma Day.
“We appreciate you,” he told the two men after a ceremony inside the Ranger compound. “Here’s what I am going to do. … I thought I saw you sitting at the bar while I was having dinner. Y’all call me I will meet you in Uptown and I will buy each of you a drink.”
The mayor then handed them his business card.
Here’s the reason why:
The proclamation reads, in part, “As people were crowding toward the back of the restaurant for safety, these Army Rangers made their way to the front of the building to ensure that civilians were safe; and upon arriving at the entrance to the restaurant and despite not knowing the location of the shooter, Abuan and Palma left the safety of the building to rescue a victim who had been shot in the leg.
“Before moving him inside to safety, Palma fashioned a tourniquet from a bystander’s belt; and once inside, Abuan applied a tourniquet, and Palma checked the victim’s tibial pulse to make sure that blood flow had been restricted.”
They then continued their bravery, according to the proclamation.
“Abuan stayed with the first victim and continued to monitor his vitals, Palma moved to assist a citizen who was taking care of a second, female victim; and Palma determined that the second victim had a gunshot wound to her abdomen with no exit wound. He applied a seal and prevented hypothermia.”
Tamishka Aron was that shooting victim
“All I heard was the shooting and running.,” she said Tuesday after she presented the two with plaques of thanks. “I felt something that hit me but I didn’t realize it running. When I got inside the restaurant, I realized I was shot.”
A woman took her to the back of the restaurant.
“One of the guys took my shirt off he took his shirt off and put it where I got shot at.,” Aron said. “He was looking to see if the bullet came out, but it didn’t.”
Aron was the second person the two soldiers treated. They had already pulled a man from the sidewalk inside the restaurant and used a belt as a tourniquet.
Aron’s father, Roberto, was out of the country when he heard she had been shot. But he knew she was in good hands if Rangers got to her first. He works with the Rangers.
“I was very fortunate and thankful to God that they were there,” said Roberto Aron, a retired soldier who works at the Ranger compound. “And they helped my daughter out. I work with these guys every day, and I know what they are capable of. They did what they needed to do to save my daughter’s life and the other people who got shot.”
Asked if she thought the two save her life, Tamishka Aron didn’t hesitate.
“I really do,” she said. “Because I don’t know if they weren’t there if I would still be here.”
Henderson said he was grateful the two soldiers were in place were their training and expertise took over. He called Auban and Palma “bonafide” heroes. Soldiers are heroes and those of us who live in the Chattahoochee Valley know it, Henderson said.
“On that night we saw it,” Henderson said. “When others were moving away, they moved toward the danger.”
The June 11 shooting in the 1000 block of Broadway was the middle piece of a three-act shooting incident that started in Phenix City earlier that night and ended with an arrest the next day.
Justin Tyran Roberts, 39, was arrested the next day and charged with the shootings, which included an incident on lower Broadway below the Oglethorpe Bridge.