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Todd Young's Long Road Back

Shot on an Oakland street, Fremont police officer Todd Young endures numerous surgeries and continuous rehab to regain his status as a gang investigator and SWAT officer.

June 13, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

Oakland Police Officer Michael Igualdo and Officer Young remain friends. Photo: Paul Clinton
Oakland Police Officer Michael Igualdo and Officer Young remain friends. Photo: Paul Clinton

Igualdo knew Young couldn't wait for an ambulance and called for a "load and go" when a sergeant pulled up in a cageless supervisor vehicle. During the bumpy ride to Highland, Officer Cercedes asked Young about his children and his 40th birthday, as he rode in the back seat. Anything to keep Young's mind off the gunshot wound.

"We were trying to save a dying man's life," Igualdo says later about his decision to not wait for the ambulance. "If you believe you can get [the downed officer] to the hospital faster than an ambulance, then it's best to transport."

On the ride, Young grew pale. His mind raced with thoughts about catching Barrientos. Police radio traffic in the car chirped questions about the shooter's identity, and Young called out the shooter's name, date of birth, and warrants.

In the OR

Once he reached the operating room, Young's condition deteriorated.

"In the OR, we were trying to stabilize the patient," Dr. Sadjadi says. "With gunshots to the torso, the thing that kills people first is blood loss. That's the issue you have to address during the Golden Hour."

The "golden hour" is how trauma doctors refer to the time they have to save a patient with severe bleeding from a devastating injury. Young reached the operating room about 30 minutes after he was shot, which didn't give Sajadi much of a margin.

The OR staff opened up Young and saw the severe bleeding firsthand. Sadjadi began to tie-off the damaged artery, and once it stopped, Sadjadi began stuffing absorbent laparotomy pads into Young's abdomen to stop the bleeding.

Anesthesiologists continued feeding blood into Young intravenously. "My goal was to plug the sink, and their job was to keep the sink filled," Sadjadi says. Doctors fed 64 units (or pints) of red cells and another 40 units of platelets and plasma into Young—or more than five times the amount of blood in the human body—to keep him alive.

Young needed so much blood that the American Red Cross packed additional units into a cooler and sent the blood to Highland's OR via taxi.

Newspaper accounts of the incident brought a flood of calls to the Red Cross from law enforcement officers wanting to donate blood to help save Young. The response was so overwhelming that the Northern California Blood Service Region's Oakland donor center often resembled a police substation.

"People really came out to support Todd," says Sara O'Brien, the center's spokesperson. "We had weeks of blood drives. Everyone would like to know it was their unit that saved the police officer. But we need all types of blood."

Taking Down the Shooter

As doctors worked to save Young, his assailant, Barrientos, fled in a green Mazda 626 sedan he had carjacked from a convenience store a block away from the shooting. His mother told police that her son called her to tell her he had shot an officer. He then headed to meet a friend.

Tags: Returning To Duty, Fremont (Calif.) PD, Trauma Care, Oakland PD, Tactical Medicine, Gang Task Force, Nortenos, Gang Enforcement

Comments (21)

Displaying 1 - 21 of 21

Nick @ 6/14/2012 6:21 PM

Simply fantastic, amazing, and inspiring story. Glad he's going to be ok, and with an attitude like that he'll have no issues getting back on SWAT.

Kristine @ 6/18/2012 2:54 PM

Excellent story, and very inspiring. Interesting to hear from all the parties to include the trauma team and doctors that helped. What an inspiring story! Congratulations to him and kudos to Police Mag for telling such an important story.

John @ 6/23/2012 8:47 AM

Our prayers are with him! God willing Todd will be back putting badguys away in the near future.

David @ 6/23/2012 9:26 AM

An inspiring story of dedication to duty and survival. It should serve as a lesson to us all! There are no substitutes for mental and physical toughness and preparedness for the unthinkable! Great job and good Lu k! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jack Swenson @ 6/23/2012 10:05 AM

God's blessing Officer Young.

Hope to see you back on the street soon!

Jim Mccaughey @ 6/23/2012 10:14 AM

Todd, welcome back! You give every LEO Inspiration and the Fighting edge that we all strive for.

DonG @ 6/23/2012 10:48 AM

Not only is this inspiring, but it is great that his department stands with him during this period of time. This isn't always the case and I felt personal solace knowing that there are still some great LE organizations out there. My prayers and best wishes are with you and your family, Todd.

Candelyn Carpenter @ 6/23/2012 1:58 PM

Do let them win you have fought to hard to get where you are today to to let them win now. Just in case no one has told you I will. We need more cops like you, I am so thankful that you are going to be okay. Jesus loves you, and I am sure a heck of alot of other people do to. Jesus has a very special place for you when the time comes. However the time is not here. Give 'em hell Todd. Remember God can do a lot more damage than they can. I am so proud of you for taking a stand in something that no body else has the guts to do. Hang in there. We need you. Candelyn Carpenter

John @ 6/23/2012 2:05 PM

God bless you brother!

Welcome back!

You did good bro!

I wasn't there but from what I have read, there was not a single thing I would have done differently!

You can't know when a goblin is going to get froggy and try to get in the wind!

I carry a Colt's 1911 (same capacity as your Sig P220) I carry ten round magazines for reloads....just a thought bro!

God bless!

Most respectfully


Dexter @ 6/23/2012 8:11 PM

Winston Churchill said it best....never, never, never, never, never give up! God bless you Todd you are in our prayers.

Sean @ 6/24/2012 12:42 PM

Outstanding drive and determination. You will do it! I'm awe-inspired by your story...

Bob Harrison @ 6/25/2012 12:17 PM

Get well soon...I will remember you in my prayers for complete recovery and back with SWAT....God Bless you Brother........

Bob Harrison @ 6/25/2012 12:19 PM

God Bless you Brother...In my prayers for a complete recovery and back on SWAT soon.....

J. Emerson @ 6/25/2012 1:35 PM

Continue with committment and perserverance, it is the spirit of a Warrior, for a Warrior knows no pain and no job is to tough. Get well soon my brother, you have set the example for all to follow. Peace be with you and your family.


J. Emerson Garrison

Abel Arriazola @ 6/27/2012 5:51 PM

Young you are a brave and courageous officer who gave full commitment in apprehending a dangerous suspect. In your recovery don't give this punk on second of your time, energy, or mind, instead, focus all you have towards recovery. Be just as aggressive towards your healing process as your were chasing the suspect and God will take care of the rest. Thank you for all you do. You are commendable in every respect. Never give up! Capt. Abel Arriazola

Dusan @ 7/3/2012 10:47 AM

This is great article

Rodney @ 7/4/2012 9:28 PM

May God quicken your recovery and further strengthen your resolve. Hope this quote helps,
"Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion." -- Morihei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido)

Thomas Buchenauer @ 7/15/2012 9:18 PM

Close call......God Bless....and a speedy recovery....

sal @ 7/17/2012 7:34 AM

Keep going big dog, till the wheels fall off.

Shawna @ 7/23/2012 4:58 AM

Hero...never quit. I wish you a full recovery. I know you'll reach your goals!!!!

brian @ 7/31/2012 3:34 PM

Great story

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