I-Team: Las Vegas plastic surgeon works with SWAT

LAS VEGAS - The SWAT team in southern Nevada has been thrust into the international spotlight after the October 1 massacre.

But, there's one member of the SWAT team we don't usually hear about.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's SWAT team is one of the busiest in the country. Recently, officers were recognized for their heroism, during the mass shooting, by President Donald Trump.

One man who knows their work well is doctor Julio Garcia.

"They are running towards the bullets, not away, which is amazing when you think about it," said Dr. Garcia.

When he's not at work at his posh plastic surgery practice, he volunteers with SWAT by providing medical care at scenes such as barricades or where the team is serving search warrants.

"This is a city where a lot of people can come and go, come and act out," he said.

He treats officers and suspects, along with any bystanders.

"I had a lady go into labor on me," he said.

From helping to bring a life into the world to declaring the end of another.

"Probably the most difficult thing I've had to do when I've been out there -- believe it or not -- is going in there and declaring someone deceased who might have taken their lives," Garcia said. "The first time that was very difficult for me to see a young individual take his life for no good reason, really. It was terrible."

He's witnessed many tragedies on the front lines, but he says one that may stand out the most - the rescue of an assault victim and a standoff that lasted more than 16 hours.

"Just being that close to someone that had been abused in so many ways really struck a very deep chord with me knowing that this lady was gonna live, and live with that memory because of someone's brutality to her and that was really - it brought in the focus why police departments have to do what they've got to do because unfortunately, innocent people get hurt and that's what the police department's there to stop. I still think about that lady today." 

Doctor Garcia says he may step aside soon to let someone newer and, in his words, younger and stronger take his place.

He also works for Metro as an intelligence analyst and is currently investigating gangs. His 60 to 100 hours a month with SWAT is all volunteer time.


 


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