MAKING LAS VEGAS A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE
Cop still close to girl he helped save 15 years ago
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It's a story that captivated Las Vegas. A tiny baby shot in the face during a drive-by shooting. The cop who saved her life? A hero. It happened 15 years ago but now, the girl is all grown up and the cop is still very much in her life.
They greet one another as family. But then, 15-year-old Jackie Martinez and retired officer Randy Sutton might as well be. Jackie Martinez says, "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have met my family. Have this great life I have."
It was this month in 1998 when shots rang out striking the car one-month-old Jackie was riding in. A bullet sliced through her face. Though Jackie's mom can't remember many details of that night, she remembers this -- "I looked back to see if the baby was OK and all I saw -- she never cried or anything. She was looking to the side. There was a big hole in her face."
Officer Sutton was first to arrive and took the baby in his arms to the hospital. While en route, she stopped breathing. Officer Sutton spoke with Action News days after. "I gave her mouth-to-mouth on the way to UMC trauma. Halfway through. she started crying. it was a nice sound."
Fifteen years later, that seasoned officer still gets choked up talking about Jackie. "Her life is part of mine now. So I guess that's why I stay in touch. It is a source of inspiration for me."
Ever since the shooting, the two have been through a lot together. Jackie had to have nine surgeries. Officer Sutton went through the loss of his parents and a career ending stroke. Officer Sutton tries to explain, "During some of those dark days, that little girl." But he can't finish his sentence.
That little girl loves her cop. And so does her family. Which is why this past weekend Jackie asked Officer Sutton to be her escort to her Quincineara. And it's why the family surprised him with the honor of the second dance right after her dad's.
Reina Martinez says, "He is our angel. He is our angel. I think without him I wouldn't have my baby. He was the one who saved my baby."
As for the cowards who did this to Jackie, Police were never able to catch them. Jackie wants to be a child therapist when she grows up. Officer Sutton is now an accomplished author. He's written several books including A Cop's Life which tells Jackie's story.