LAKE CITY, Fla. – A fight in front of a Lake City store nearly turned deadly Wednesday night when a man’s throat was slashed in front of two deputies, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy David Widergren, a seasoned veteran, and Deputy Shane Hartopp, a trainee, are now being called heroes for saving the man's life.
"Not only did they remove a very dangerous person off the streets of our community, but they also saved a life," Sgt. Murray Smith, with the Sheriff's Office, told News4Jax on Thursday.
The two deputies responded just before 11 p.m. Wednesday to a call about a woman holding a box cutter at a convenience store at the intersection of State Road 100 and Baya Drive, just minutes from the Sheriff's Office.
Hartopp, who wrote the arrest report, noted that when he and Widergren arrived on the scene, they saw a woman in a physical confrontation with a man.
The woman was later identified by deputies as 35-year-old Shauna Rae Dokken.
According to the arrest report, as the deputies got out of their patrol vehicle, they saw Dokken slash the man's throat.
Hartopp pointed his Taser and ordered Dokken to drop to the ground while the other deputy tried to help the victim, who was losing blood from his neck. Before paramedics arrived, the man lost and regained consciousness several times, the report said.
Once Dokken was in custody, both deputies helped keep the victim alive until paramedics arrived.
"This person is extremely fortunate to have two people there who knew basic first aid and were able to stop the bleeding, because that’s the initial thing you have to do to with any major wound like that. You need to slow or stop the bleeding," Smith said.
The victim was then flown to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville in critical condition, deputies said. His condition has since been downgraded to serious.
The Sheriff’s Office said that if the deputies had not been together, there could have been a different outcome.
“If this lone deputy came up and saw someone slice someone’s throat, I don’t know if they would have time to think about it. They would probably react with deadly force. The suspect is down and now you got two people who need help," Smith said. "So, in this case, it was the best of the situation.”
The Sheriff's Office said the trainee deputy used great restraint by pulling out his Taser instead of pulling out his gun.
"This lady is extremely lucky the deputy did not use deadly force," Smith said.
Dokken is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Her bond was set at $25,000.
Investigators said Dokken and the victim lived together, but have not yet been able to determine what led up to the throat slashing.