Three soldiers, two of them from Salina, are being called heroes after they jumped into action earlier this month. One while a man was being attacked and stabbed, two others after they found four people injured.
On August 10th, four people were stabbed after a night out near the intersection of 6th & Jackson.
21-year-old Colin McCarty of Sierra Vista, AZ, was flown to Stormont Vail in Topeka, after he was stabbed so severely, he almost died.
22-year-old Specialist Erick Rollins of Ft. Riley was also taken to Stormont Vail in Topeka after he tried to save his friend from an attacker.
28-year-old Andrew Trammel of St. Louis, MO, received minor injuries, as well as 25-year-old Priscilla Mora of Junction City.
McCarty’s mother wrote to WIBW NewsNow, and explained in detail what happened that night, and the heroics of three soldiers who saved her sons life. Here is their story as told by Kathy McCarty:
The following is a summary that I wrote to support a “Soldier’s Award” – one of the highest achievable awards for a military man in a peacetime, civilian situation – for three very brave men who reacted quickly during a stabbing that occurred in Junction City on August 10th.
On Friday, August 9th, my son, Colin McCarty, and his friend, SPC Eric Rollins, along with friends (two girls Eric works with at Ft. Riley) went out to an “over 18” country western dance club/bar in Junction City, KS.
As Friday turned to the early hours of Saturday morning, August 10th, they left the club and went to a restaurant, along with several other people that had been at the same dance club that evening.
As they finished their meals, the two girls left the restaurant and started walking near 6th and Jackson Streets, whereupon they were approached and began to be verbally harassed by an individual now known as Jason Babylon (the suspect identified by police), but unknown to anyone in the group.
Eric and Colin, who were sitting at an outside table of the restaurant, heard the girls yelling for them, and proceeded across and down the street to help.
There were some words exchanged(shouting) between the boys and Babylon, and as the boys approached, Babylon took a running start at Colin with (unknown to anyone there at the time) a knife in his hand.
Colin recalled trying to “sidestep” the man’s advance but lost his footing, falling to the ground. What he discovered as he looked down was his side/front abdominal area had been cut open and he was holding his intestines in his hands.
What happened to him after that is much of a blur, but from witnesses accounts we are able to piece together most of what occurred.
Colin was cut across his lower abdomen, and Babylon continued stabbing; several times in Colin’s abdomen, chest, and back, as well as cutting across his neck, receiving a total of 10 to 12 knife wounds in all.
SPC Erick Rollins, seeing the attack, jumped on Babylon’s back and tried to take him down. Rollins had Babylon in a headlock until Babylon stabbed Erick also.
Erick was knifed across the neck, both biceps, and down the inner thigh, yet continued his attempts to get Babylon off of Colin, ignoring his own injuries completely.
A civilian stranger, Mr. Andrew Tremmel, was driving by and saw the three men (Eric on top of Babylon, and Babylon appearing to Andrew to be punching Colin in the back and side (stabbing, as it turned out).
Andrew stopped to help, getting Babylon off of Colin, taking a wound from Babylon in the process.
At some point during this time, two Army National Guardsmen, Sgt. Ace Thompson and Sgt. Monte McWilliams, came running to the scene to help. Ace Thompson initially tended to Colin while Monte McWilliams fended off further attack from Jason Babylon. The two guard soldiers are from Salina.
SPC Rollins, without attending to his own wounds, instead focused on calling 911 and giving location information, from which the police arrived minutes later.
Ace Thompson attended to Colin’s stomach wounds and tried to put Colin’s intestines back into his body, while Monte McWilliams then tended to Colin’s neck wound which had sliced into the left jugular vein and was pumping blood out of his neck.
Monte applied pressure to stop the bleeding, while instructing Colin to focus on Monte’s eyes and not take his eyes off him. Ace was applying pressure to Colin’s abdominals while also calling 911 with his other hand. Both Ace and Monte continued helping Colin, trying also to keep him alert using techniques taught them in their Combat Life Saver (CLS) course with the Kansas Army National Guard, and stayed with him until the Emergency Medical Technicians arrived.
At the moment the paramedics arrived on the scene, Monte observed that Colin stopped breathing, but they were able to bring him back by shouting and slapping his face, and the paramedics were able to take over.
Colin distinctly recalls being shouted at by Ace and Monte, “stay with me, stay with me”.
Once the paramedics took over with Colin, Ace Thompson proceeded to assist Army Reservist Priscilla Mora, who was also cut in the altercation with Babylon, and Andrew Tremmel with their injuries.
Monte McWilliams assisted SPC Erick Rollins with his injuries but stated later that Eric was far more concerned with Colin’s condition than his own.
Colin, Eric, Andrew Tremmel and Priscilla Mora were taken to Junction City Hospital, and Colin was life-flighted to the Stormont-Vail Trauma Center in Topeka, KS in critical condition where he underwent 6 hours of surgery repairing the intestines (they removed about a foot of them), repairing his wounds to his lung, which had been punctured in three places, had filled with blood and collapsed.
They repaired the wounds in his back and the slit across his throat that while it cut into a critical vein, it didn’t sever it.
The General Surgeon, Dr. Lui, stated that it was very apparent Jason’s intent was to kill Colin. Dr. Lui also stated that were it not for the outstanding efforts of Ace Thompson and Monte McWilliams, that Colin would have bled out at the site.
The work they did on both Colin’s abdominal wounds and neck wounds, served to allow the blood to coagulate to a point of holding off further critical blood loss and certain death.
After the initial surgery, Colin was taken back in for heart surgery to repair cuts to the heart muscle and surrounding sac that were discovered in X-Rays.
SPC Erick Rollins was also brought to Stormont-Vail later that morning where he had surgery to repair the wounds to his neck. Eric sustained knife wounds on both arms, his inner thigh, and across his neck.
He continues to have some paralysis on the left side of his face – we are hopeful this will work itself out in time.
Were it not for the efforts of SPC Eric Rollins and Andrew Tremmel in stopping Jason Babylon from inflicting further damage to Colin, and exemplary first aid efforts by Ace Thompson and Monte McWilliams, Colin would not be alive today.
All four of these men acted unselfishly, putting their own lives at great risk, thinking only of the good of one individual – a stranger to three of them; Andrew, Ace and Monte.
As a mother, this is a nightmare I never could have imagined.
As a lifetime employee of the US Army, Erick Rollins, Ace Thompson, and Monte McWilliams make me so much more than just PROUD to be part of the Army Family. Grateful, thankful, and honored are among the many emotions I feel. These men are the true definition of selfless, dedicated, honorable men, who define the meaning of “Army Strong”.
It is my desire to support a Soldier’s Medal award to these individuals who risked their own safety, with no regard to the danger they placed themselves under, to save the life of my son, Colin McCarty, 20 years old, Southern Illinois University Junior, native Arizona resident.
Collin, now able to walk after extensive rehabilitation, says he has a whole new outlook on life.
“I took a lot of things for granted. The people in your life and the opportunities you’re given for everything, and even being healthy. Everything is taken for granted, and now that I have almost lost everything in one night in a matter of five minutes, I look at everything completely different now. I’m so much more thankful for everything that I do have in my life. The people, family, friends, my well-being. It has given me a new outlook on life.”
The last thing Collin remembers before waking up in the hospital, was Sgt. McWilliams standing over him saying “stay with me, stay with me”. But why did McWilliams step in to help save Collin’s life?
“There were people standing around not doing anything so I felt like something needed to be done and instinct just did it. Did what I thought had to be done.”
Sgt. Ace Thompson is just glad he was in the right place, at the right time, with the right training.
“I’m glad I was actually able to say I did that. I know I have what it takes if the situation ever comes up again.”
The family of Collin is asking the Kansas National Guard to recognize the heroics of those soldiers who stepped in to help him. They have sent the same letter above to the Adjunct General of Kansas to help that process.
All three soldiers told WIBW NewsNow that they feel like they are not heroes, but just used their training to help someone in need. Collin and his family say that training is what made those three heroes in their eyes.
Story by Shawn Wheat / WIBW Radio