'I was just in the right place at the right time': JBLM soldier rushed to help Tillicum shooting victim

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Police recovered the gun they believe a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier used  in a shooting that sent a man to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.

Police are still interviewing their suspect, 22-year-old Jesse Suhanec.

On Thursday morning, Army Specialist Jonah Atkinson was on his way to lunch when he saw the shooting victim slumped over in his car. That’s when Atkinson said his military training kicked in and he was able to give the victim life-saving medical attention.

“He was just completely out of it and gasping for air,” he said.

Atkinson said he knew the man behind the wheel of a truck in a fast food restaurant parking lot needed help. The stranger had been shot.

“All I saw was two bullet holes,” he said. “I kept the blood down while the paramedics were coming.”

Atkinson might have helped save the man’s life but he doesn’t want to be called a hero.

“I helped save somebody’s life, I’ve never had to do that,” he said. “I was just in the right place at the right time. I hope if I was the one in the situation, another bystander would be willing to help.”

Police are still trying to piece together what led to the shooting.

Investigators say Suhanec left the base on Thursday in an Army van. Police aren’t sure where Suhanec got the gun he allegedly used in the shooting and then two attempted carjackings later.

Law enforcement from several surrounding agencies spent hours searching the Tillicum neighborhood for the suspect. Suhanec on Thursday night surrendered to one of Kevin Damkare’s neighbors.

“The guy came to them for help and in tears,” said Damkare.

The shooting victim is expected to survive.

“I’m just glad I was there, you know, to be the first person to help him because, you know, he’s alive,” said Atkinson.

Suhanec was booked into the Pierce County jail for investigation of assault, attempted burglary, robbery, theft of a fire arm and impersonating a police officer.