Hometown Hero: Nurse Michael Hagiwara saved two Planned Parenthood shooting victims’ lives

FOX21 and the American Red Cross are partnering once again to honor some Hometown Heroes: businesses and individuals who exemplify courage, kindness, and unselfish character. Today, we’re highlighting a man who was in the wrong place at the right time. Michael Hagiwara is being honored for jumping into action and saving victims of the Planned Parenthood attack. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — What began as a normal day for nurse Michael Hagiwara quickly became an experience he will never forget.

Hagiwara and his youngest daughter, Avery, were at a doctor’s appointment near the Planned Parenthood when a woman ran into the building. She gave a grave warning: “Oh my god. People are being shot. There’s dead people.”

After sheltering in place, Hagiwara heard a scream. A nurse of 20 years, he knew he had to help.

“I said, ‘Avery, I love you and I’ll be back just as soon as I can,'” he said. “And I had them unlock the door and went out and that’s when I first approached the first victim. I knew that I could do something. It’s funny. I don’t know how to fix a car. I can’t build a deck. but I do know a little bit about fixing people, and I knew that I would be able to at least help.”

Hagiwara was able to stabilize the woman with very little equipment. Moments later, he realized his talents would be needed again.

“I glanced out and I could see a man lying out in the parking lot with some outstretched arms, and the officer was trying to retrieve him, but, I didn’t see what happened exactly, but the officer let the man go and raised his weapon,” Hagiwara said. “At that point, I was making direct eye contact with the man, and I felt obliged to not leave him there in the parking lot bleeding.”

Hagiwara’s quick actions and medical skills saved both victims’ lives.

“Sometimes it makes me pause and think that maybe I was meant to be there,” he said. “Maybe Avery and I were meant to be there. I was there to do what I could for the victims, and my youngest daughter was there to help focus people and help take their mind off the obvious stress,” Hagiwara said.

Through all the recognition, Hagiwara remains modest, simply saying he was only doing what he knew was right.

“Truly I’m a pretty average man,” he said. “The last thing I consider myself is a hero.”

Hagiwara was nominated for the Hometown Heroes award by Chris Valentine at Penrose Hospital. 

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