When Devyn Holmes was shot in the head on Facebook Live, the odds of survival weren’t in his favor. Luckily, off-duty firefighter Chas Martin was nearby and helped save Holmes’ life. Who is this hero? Let’s take a look at what happened and the details we have on Martin.
If he were a different person, Chas Martin could have used his recent notoriety to cash in on this tragedy. Instead, he’s using his time in the spotlight to put forward a positive message.
He Was Off Duty at the Time
Late in the evening of March 31, Chas Martin was tired. A bunch of his friends were getting together and he thought about passing on joining them, as he had a shift at the Houston Fire Department the next day. But in the end, he relented, went out, and had a great time with his buddies. Martin thought about going home early, but ended up sticking around, just sitting and talking.
Suddenly, there was a commotion at the nearby gas station. Martin and his friends went to investigate. When he asked someone leaving the scene what was going on, they told him that someone had been shot in the head and died in a car. That’s when Martin, who has been with the Houston Fire Department since September 2014, remembered his training.
Responding to Duty
Martin took a look at Devyn Holmes and immediately began checking for a pulse. He found none. At that point, Martin could have walked away, but instead, he and his two friends, Steven Boon and EMT Andrew Scott, pulled Holmes out of the car and went to work.
Martin began to do chest compressions, going through what his training had taught him, while he waited for the sirens of an ambulance. And then Holmes’ chest started rising.
Holmes’ body turned itself back on thanks to the chest compressions. While there was no guarantee Holmes would survive what was to come, he now had a fighting chance because of Martin’s actions. The off-duty firefighter then called in the incident to dispatch and assisted paramedics when the ambulance arrived.
The Emotional Toll and Positivity
In a lengthy Facebook post, followed by an interview with ABC 13, Martin went on to describe the entire incident from his point of view. He also went into detail about the emotional toll incidents like this can take on first responders.
He explained that despite being warned against it, he made his way to where Holmes was shot after seeing people both run from and to the gas station because “this is what I do.”
Martin even made it a point to ask people not to watch or share the Facebook video of Holmes being shot, due to the kind of emotional damage that may occur after viewing it. Not to mention the damage it may do to the family and friends of everyone involved with the video.
But through the entire event and the media coverage that followed it, Martin stayed consistent about two things: duty and positivity. Helping Holmes was a risk for Martin. Identifying himself as a firefighter could have led to severe repercussions for his job. But between his job and what he felt was his duty to try to save a man, he went with the latter.
Martin also tried to allay the negative reaction towards alleged shooter Cassandra Damper. Martin went on the record to say that he knows Damper personally and while she made a terrible mistake, she’s not a bad person.