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'He didn't leave my side:' Medic honored for saving life of SWAT team member shot in standoff

SWAT medic Capt. Ben Gleiser's quick thinking and action saved the life of a law enforcement officer who was shot in the face during a standoff in North Carolina.

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SWAT medic Capt. Ben Gleiser remembers Oct. 14, 2019, vividly.

Because of his quick thinking and action that day, the 10-year veteran saved the life of a law enforcement officer who was shot in the face during a standoff in High Point, North Carolina.

For that, the American Red Cross is honoring Gleiser with a "Salute to Heroes" award this month.

Gleiser was at a home on Braddock Road, the scene of a nearly 12-hour standoff that started shortly after 8:30 a.m.

"I was staged outside the front door," Gleiser said. "Shots came out and then we heard over the radio, 'officer down.'"

Gleiser was the first to attend to the injuries Master Corporal McLean, a member of the Guilford County Sheriff's Office, suffered.

"I've been on the SWAT team for seven years and not one time have I ever called my wife before something happened, but that, I just had a feeling that evening that I needed to call her and tell her that I loved her (before going in)," McLean said.

McLean recalled being the first person to see the barricaded man after they kicked the door down. He saw a flash go off, and then immediately realized he had been hit in the face.

"I knew I had to get to Ben," McLean said. "I knew he was the one that was at the doorway waiting if something happened."

Gleiser found his colleague and responded quickly.

"We got inside and I met (McLean) coming down the steps," Gleiser said. "We knew he had obviously been shot. We got him outside."

Gleiser started pulling protective gear off McLean in an effort to find the gunshot wound and control bleeding.

"I couldn't ask for a better job than what he did," McLean said. "It took us a while to find where the bleeding was coming from. It was my jaw area. He stopped the bleeding."

Gleiser then arranged for an ambulance, and rode along with him until he reached the hospital.

Gleiser also contacted McLean's family to assure them that he was going to be OK.

"(Gleiser) was with me the whole time on the ride down and while I was down in the ER," McLean said. "He didn't leave my side. Not one time. I remember all the doctors surrounding me and Ben was right there. He's a good guy."

"I think I was just doing my job," Gleiser said. "I did what I was trained to do."

McLean was hospitalized for five days, and has yet to return to work. He also needs more procedures on his jaw.