Navy Challenge Coin Stops Bullet, Saves Police Officer’s Life

Challenge Coin

Sgt. Mike Parson and a team of officers stopped John Terry Chatman Jr. They saw that the van and his license plates did not match up.

The 34-year-old was furious and did not cooperate with the officers. He even “challenged the officers’ jurisdiction several times and asked the officers to contact their superiors.”

Parsons came to the aid of the officers in the form of a non-lethal pepper-ball gun. He shot it off, and almost immediately after, Chatman began firing. According to the video captured by the Tulsa Oklahoma officer’s body cameras, Parsons was hit in the leg.

Two of the officers pulled him away and into safety. The officers were concerned about the 25-year veteran’s injuries. However, he was not in shock and was working within minutes.

Officer Con Ericsson thought that the bullet could have hit Parson’s femoral artery or fractured his femur, but there was no evidence of this type of injury.

Taking Charge

Parsons took over the scene giving the officers directions to arrest Chatman. Once Chatman was in custody, Parsons was placed in the back of an ambulance by EMTs.

They cut his pants so they could inspect his injury. As soon as they did, a coin fell out onto the floor of the ambulance. Ericsson compared the coin to Parson’s bruise on his leg. It was a match.

The coin was a challenge coin. A friend had given it Ericsson, and he had asked Parsons to keep it with him a couple of weeks prior.

Ericsson said, ” He was meant to carry that coin. He was meant to go home to his family.”

Saving His Life

The coin did not stop the bullet from going into Parson’s leg. It just redirected it. The bullet went away from all of Parson’s major bones and arteries.

Parson said his wife, Sgt. Danielle Bishop was the officer who pulled him away from the van after he was shot.

Ericsson arrived quickly after that. In bodycam footage, an officer told Parsons he needed to get “out of there.” But Parsons kept working, a move he was commended for.

After Ericsson had originally given Parsons the coin, he gave him grief for not having it on him.

“He’d checked on me and asked if I had the coin with me,” Parsons said. “He didn’t admonish me. Instead, it was like, ‘I just really need you to carry that coin.”

Sources: 1, 2

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