A Survivor's Story

It was one of the most frightening scenes of the massacre, a boy dangling from a school window with one bloody arm hanging useless, his other arm flailing for help.

SWAT members eventually rushed to his rescue as he dropped from the second floor library window Tuesday.
He was identified Thursday as 17-year-old Patrick Ireland, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara.

As the video clip begins, the weight of the youth's body leans against broken glass, and his blood-soaked shirt displays the violence he was trying desperately to escape.

Patrick Ireland
His plight grabbed the attention of the Lakewood SWAT team as they searched for explosives at Columbine High School. Within seconds, their armored truck was on the move.

"I turned to the driver and said, 'Let's go get him.' We drove over the curb, over a couple of planters. We almost drove over a bicycle rack," said Sgt. George Hinkle.

With the truck in place under the shattered window, Sgt. John Romaniec and senior agent Donn Kraemer climbed on the roof and reached for Ireland's outstretched hands.

Using his remaining strength, the boy kicked up his legs and escaped from the library, which 90 minutes earlier had been ravaged by two teen-agers who laughed as they gunned down a teacher and 12 of their unsuspecting classmates.

Romaniec and Kraemer were able to grasp the boy's hands as he lunged out the window and slammed into the side of the armored truck. Shot twice in the head, his body bloodied and his awareness fading, Ireland was finally safe from the shooting.

"He was slipping in and out of consciousness," Romaniec said Thursday. "Once we got him into the back of the van I had another officer ask him his name and talk to him. You could see the life was slipping away."

Ireland was taken to St. Anthony Hospital Central, where he remained in serious condition today and in intensive care with gunshot wounds.

Doctors say a bullet to Patrick Ireland's brain has slurred his speech and disabled the right side of his body, effects similar to a stroke. He may need years of recovery therapy.

"I think the most likely outcome is that he will have a very significant weakness, probably on his right side. Although, many people surprise us all the time," said Dr. Adair Prall, Patrick's neurosurgeon.

"I think that this young man deserves all the credit," Romaniec said. "He is a survivor in the true meaning of the word survive. He was determined to get out of there."

"It was the only bright spot that we had in the whole day, and even that wasn't a bright spot," Hinkle said.

For years, Patrick has been close friends with Makai Hall. They were together when they were shot Recovering from shotgun wounds, Hall deflected questions about the condition of his friend, and talked of his will to get better.

"Even though it's a great tragedy, I'm not going to let it bring me down," Hall said. "I'm going to use it to motivate myself."
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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