MANKATO — Things were already crazy for Bill Davis during the early morning hours of April 20.
The Blue Earth County sheriff's deputy was one of many area law enforcement officers who had been dispatched to the Kato Entertainment Center in Mankato for a 2 a.m. shooting. Officers were still looking for suspects. The person who shot and killed 22-year-old Poth Acouth of Omaha, Nebraska, that night still hasn't been arrested and charged.
Two hours into that chaotic incident, another desperate 911 call came into the dispatch center, this time from a woman in Lake Crystal. Davis was sent to the scene and what he did while he was there earned him a Life Saving Award from the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association recently.
Davis immediately interviewed the victim and learned her boyfriend had left their residence after the assault, then returned and locked himself in the bathroom.
"She thought he might be attempting to harm himself," said Capt. Rich Murry of the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department.
The bathroom door had a handle that could be unlocked from the outside by pushing something through a small whole in the middle of the doorknob. Davis quickly did that and found the man lying unconscious on the floor and starting to turn blue, Murry said. The man had an electrical cord tied around his neck that also was tied around the shower curtain rod.
Davis cut the cord and started doing a rescue technique called a sternum rub. The man eventually took some deep breaths and the color returned to his face.
"If he doesn't get in, the guy dies," Murry said.
The award is given to anyone who has performed "an act which may be deemed to have saved the life any person." The awardee has to be nominated by a sheriff of the county where the event occurred.
"Quick decision making and resourceful tactics used by deputy Davis helped turn an otherwise tragic situation into a positive outcome resulting in the man being alive and well today," a news release from Blue Earth County said.
After starting as a jailer in the Blue Earth County Jail in 2002, Davis became a patrol deputy in 2006. While working in the jail, he also commuted to Riverland Community College in Austin to earn a law enforcement degree. He farms in the Lake Crystal area, where he grew up, Murry said.
"He's very personable and good with people," Murry said. "He's an easy guy to talk to, so people are comfortable with him."