Man Saws Arms: Why Did California Man Cut Off His Arms In Home Depot?

By Staff Reporter on April 12, 2013 12:48 PM EDT

Home Depot
A Home Depot in West Covina, California was the scene of a man sawing off his arms during business hours at the store. The man is in critical condition. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A California man is in critical condition after he intentionally sawed his arms to the bone in a Home Depot on Wednesday.

The man, whose name has not been released, underwent surgery and is in intensive care according to West Covina police Cpl. Rudy Lopez. Police are investigating the reason the man sawed his arms.

"He is not speaking," Lopez said. "We don't know anything about his history, motive, and concerns at this point."

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Police say that the man grabbed small saws in the Home Depot store, including a saw that is meant to cut drywall, and began to cut through his arms.

"He was just began sawing away," Lopez told reporters in a briefing. "He was pretty much intent on doing what he did."

An off-duty Pasadena Fire Department paramedic named Art Hurtado was in the store, which is located in a suburb of east Los Angles in West Covina. The paramedic used items off the shelves of the store such as rope and towels to create a tourniquet in order to stop the bleeding. After another customer called 911, police and an ambulance quickly arrived at the Home Depot, where the patient was half-conscious from the amount of blood loss.

"I'm not on duty, I don't have all the equipment that I normally have. I kind of MacGyver'ed it," said Hurtado referring to an 1980's show where the main character would get out of situations by using odd found materials.

Hurtado, 51, has been a member of the Pasadena Fire Department for 21 years. He was at the Home Depot with his wife to purchase trim for his daughter's house. When he walked into the store, he found the man face down in a puddle of blood with no pulse.  

Hurtado said that the man cut through to the bone, severing nerves, tendons and arteries in both arms. Without receiving immediate medical attention from Hurtado, the man would have died at the scene.

"It's just things you do instinctively. I'm here to serve," Hurtado said. "Any one of my brothers and sisters in the department would have done the same thing."

The Home Depot was closed for the rest of the day on Wednesday.

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