Editor's note: This post contains graphic descriptions of violence.
A Navy combat veteran described a horrific scene with a pile of victims – some dead, others with gruesome gunshot wounds – when he attempted to offer emergency care after Saturday's mass shooting in a Texas outlet mall.
Joshua Barnwell, who has training in emergency care, hid in the Lucky Jeans store at the mall when the shooting erupted – and when he felt it was safe to do so, he left the store to go tend to those injured.
Barnwell told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night that when he arrived in front of the H&M store he noticed gunshot-blasted windows and then he saw several victims lying in the area, including a child who was dead, and other people with vicious injuries in a landscaped area.
"I noticed in front of it was a woman who had collapsed on top of herself and had perished there. Then I turned my gaze toward the left, and I noticed a gentleman there who was writhing in pain. He had what appeared to be a shoulder wound. He was actually in the flower bed. There was a young child – my guess at the time was between 6 and 8 years old – that was lying there. Her state was unknown but did not look promising. Next to her was an adult woman who had multiple vicious gunshot wounds. She had the head of a young lady draped on her left shoulder facing downward, who also appeared to have multiple, very traumatic injuries and gunshot wounds. At the foot of that young lady was a pile, with a man on top, who was again writhing in pain with what appeared to be a shoulder or chest wound. And below him was a deceased woman, that I later found out was his wife, and then he had a young child with him — maybe 5 or 6 years old — that was just drenched in blood."
Barnwell said he went to tend to a woman who was injured and she asked him to take care of her daughter. Barnwell began CPR on the child when he said a “vile amount of blood came out" from the girl's back and he realized the child was dead.
He returned to her mother, who had atrocious bullet wounds. “Please fight and be there for the family that you have,” Barnwell said he told the woman.
Barnwell continued to do what he could until ambulances arrived. “When they arrived there were too many wounded for them to handle,” so he kept applying tourniquets and compression bandages to aid the wounded.
Barnwell said the reason he agreed to interviews was to share that he wanted people to “understand the depths of the depravity that occurred.”
“If in the detail it upsets them, then I’m glad – because it should, because it was a disastrous situation,” Barnwell said.