On Saturday night, August 30, my boyfriend Rynne and I decided to hit up the nearby 7-Eleven on a corner in a busy area near San Diego State University. It was still early in the night, so the sidewalk and laundromat next door were relatively crowded with people trying to escape the heat. We had been there a million times before.
I watched Rynne walk toward the ATM, but my eyes quickly shifted to a commotion at the 7-Eleven's entrance — an instant later, there was a man kneeling in front of me, clutching his head in his hands as blood flowed from a deep gash.
It took a moment for the situation to register in my mind, and then a frantic woman ran up to me.
"That's my brother!" She looked at me with wide, frightened eyes. "Please call the police! I have to go get my mother! I live across the street...I'll be back!"
Then she was gone.
The man was writhing in pain, dripping blood all over the ground and anything he touched. I don't think I had ever seen that much blood in real life. I looked over to the employees and screamed for them to call 911, but the scene was too hectic for anyone to listen. They shooed the man outside and immediately started cleaning up the mess, dumping bleach and mop water on the contaminated area.
Outside, Rynne was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher. Then, a Mexican woman jumped out of her car and started to help the bleeding man, using towels she had to apply pressure to his head.
I could tell the victim was mildly concussed and had lost a fair amount of blood, but head wounds usually bleed a lot. He kept moaning and repeating who he was and his home address. He would be calm for a moment and then break down, screaming out that he was dying.
I tried my best to comfort him. I kneeled down to eye level and asked him to listen to me and breathe. "You're going to be okay." The human body holds a surprising amount of blood. "You're going to be okay."
As the police and ambulance pulled up, so did the bleeding man's family. Some young children they brought instantly starting wailing and sobbing. A large cop came over and made us disperse. I attempted to talk to police, but they made it clear that they didn’t have anything to say.
I figured out that the man had been in an altercation with his cousin's boyfriend. It resulted in the man being pushed and bashing his head against a railing outside of the 7-Eleven. There was blood splattered along the whole storefront.
As they loaded the man into the ambulance, he yelled "thank you" to Rynne and I. We were the only people to call 911.
As this whole thing was happening, people were going in and out of the store; stepping over the blood. The 7-Eleven employees were so not into it and barely acknowledged what was happening.
Other than the Mexican woman who helped, only one other woman stopped and asked if we had already called the police. Meanwhile, bystanders crowded along the front of the laundromat, watching but not attempting to help.
Since then, we have been back to the 7-Eleven. Dried blood is still on the railing.