For 14 years Chris Howell was assigned to a Federal Drug Trafficking Task Force and was shot and seriously wounded in the line of duty while he was the St. Croix Police Chief. Howell’s experience provides a first person look into dangerous island politics, corruption and crime. Below is an excerpt of his life changing experience.
"Can you walk?" I asked, but Jones didn't respond. He had no idea and neither did I. Grabbing the door handle with my uninjured hand I forced it open with my shoulder. As my body bent to the left, the warmth of blood escaping from the gunshot wounds in my back soaked into the fabric of my bullet proof vest. Immediately I imagined that I was paralyzed. As my door opened the cool night rushed into the SUV forcing out the thick humid air. Stepping out I felt my feet as they touch the ground, which provided me a brief moment of relief. I was standing, but immediately I refocused my attention on my arm and I realized I had a much bigger problem. I was bleeding to death. As I took my first steps, I looked in the direction of the suspects but I could see only darkness. The night was stale. A barely detectible haze lingered in the air and the smell of burnt gunpowder loosely concealed itself around us.
Holding my damaged arm against my chest while using my uninjured hand for support, I heard Carmen's voice shout, "Chris! Life before limb!" As Jones grabbed the patrol rifle off the floor of the vehicle, I staggered to the rear of the SUV. A second later, I heard Jones slam a magazine in the weapon making a loud clacking noise. Turning to Jones, I could see him looking down at the weapon and rack a round into battery as blood poured from the wound in his face. Opening the rear hatch of the SUV, I grabbed the trauma pack and tore open the compartment, which contained a tourniquet. Like Jones, everywhere I went I coated the ground with a thick layer of blood…
If you want to continue to read Howell’s full story and see how he saved his life, please visit: Chief Howell Story
About Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell is a 22-year veteran of the US Virgin Islands Police Department. Howell’s stories also afford the reader a look into an amazing group of officers and Federal Agents who put themselves in harm’s way while attempting to make the Virgin Islands the American Paradise it proclaims to be.