UF Health security officer's quick action helped save firefighter's life

Davay Kinsey visited the veteran fire captain in the hospital the next day

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A UF Health Jacksonville security officer is being hailed as a hero for helping save the life of a veteran fire captain who was stabbed Tuesday evening.

The security officer, Davay Kinsey, is retired from the Air Force and served nearly 11 years as a military police officer. She said it was that training that kicked in when she heard the call go out that two Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department firefighters had been stabbed in an ambulance just blocks away from the emergency room of the hospital. 

"(It) just was second nature -- training and experience and knowing how to stay calm and understand the situation and what you're dealing with and just being able to react," Kinsey said.

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When she arrived and saw the two firefighters trying to subdue the patient, Kinsey told News4Jax on Wednesday that "what I witnessed was unreal."

JFRD Capt. Latorrence Norris was bleeding profusely, and Kinsey decided to act quickly rather than wait for a second rescue unit to arrive. 

"My first instinct was to get Capt. Norris into the golf cart and to the trauma unit. I knew I could do it faster than anyone else," Kinsey said. "That's the only thing that I was thinking about was his safety and his health."

Kinsey said Norris was conscious and able to form some words as she transported him by golf cart to the trauma center.

"I kept talking to him as we were driving up to the trauma unit, asking him if he was OK. 'Sir, stay with me.' He was telling me: 'I'm OK. Just keep going, just keep going,'" Kinsey said.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department interim Chief Keith Powers said Kinsey's quick thinking may have saved Norris' life. Kinsey also believes those few extra minutes made a difference.

"I know that's cliche, but minutes save lives and that's what we did," Kinsey said. "I'm glad I was able to react so fast and make that happen."

She said that she's "overwhelmed and humbled by this experience," but added that everyone at UF Health was in the right place at the right time.

"We're not just security officers just walking around. There's a lot of things that go unnoticed with what we do in our job here at the hospital. We're all one team," said Kinsey, who has worked for UF Health for more than 10 years. "One team, one fight."

Davay Kinsey is a security officer at UF Health hospital in downtown Jacksonville.
Davay Kinsey is a security officer at UF Health hospital in downtown Jacksonville.

The incident took place after two firefighters/paramedics responded to a call about a man having back pain about 10 p.m. Tuesday on Franklin Street. Powers said the patient, later identified as Tony Harris, was calm when they loaded him in the rescue unit headed to UF Health. As the rescue unit drove through Springfield, the patient got up off the stretcher, grabbed a box cutter from Norris' pocket while Norris was tending to him, and slashed him several times in the upper chest and abdomen, Powers said.

Powers said the firefighter/engineer who was driving, Vinnie Harper, heard the commotion, stopped the rescue unit on Boulevard at West 10th Street and climbed in the back to help subdue the patient. Harper suffered a deep cut to his right thigh and has already been treated and released from the hospital.

Norris has stabilized and was moved Wednesday from the intensive care unit to a regular room at the hospital. Emotional video captured Kinsey visiting Norris in the hospital Wednesday. In the video, the two hug and Kinsey tells Norris, "I'm so grateful you're OK."

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"Thank you so much," Norris can be heard saying to her in the video.

Norris should be able to go home in a few days. 

Kinsey, who graduated from Wolfson High School in 1998, said she's always the one who runs to the trouble and she's beyond glad it worked out well.

"I know how to collect myself in chaos and just deal with it," she told News4Jax.

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