Doctor recalls trying to save lives during Essen Lane shooting

Doctor recalls trying to save lives during Essen Lane shooting
Dr. Randall Cornateanu (Source: WAFB)
Dr. Randall Cornateanu (Source: WAFB)
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Dr. Randall Cornateanu considers himself lucky just days after being thrust into a life or death situation Sunday night as a lone gunman, 48-year-old Terrell Walker, allegedly wreaked havoc on Essen Lane.

"I was there 10 seconds before and I saw him around and he obviously was on a shooting rampage," Cornateanu said. "He was just shooting and everyone was trying to help."

In the middle of his residency at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, the 28-year-old said he has been dreaming of becoming a doctor all his life, but even with all of that training and the hands-on experience he has received, he admits nothing could have prepared him for the chaos that unfolded around him, but he knew he had to act.

"It's kind of an instinctual situation. I didn't even think about it. I saw bodies and I felt like I needed to do something," Cornateanu added.

As people ran away from the scene, he raced in to help 30-year-old April Peck, the initial victim of the shooting, and 17-year-old Daniel Wesley, another Good Samaritan who tried to help just seconds before. He remembers checking on both of the victims and doing whatever he could to save their lives.

"Another EMS truck came in two or three minutes later as I was doing chest compressions and we were able to get her into the ambulance and get the kid into the ambulance," Cornateanu said.

Unfortunately, Peck did not survive the shooting, but Wesley, after having surgery on his arm and leg, is still recovering in the hospital. Friday marked the second time Cornateanu and Wesley have seen each other since the shooting. The doctor said the 17-year-old is the true hero.

"I mean, he just went through so much and he was the first one on the scene," Cornateanu said. "He's the real hero for what he did." Wesley said there was something else though working for the both of them that night that kept them safe.

"I got God on my side. So did he, so I mean God was watching over us, so I was like yeah, alright we're fine," Wesley said.

If given the chance again, Cornateanu said he would not hesitate to do whatever he could to save lives.

"I've thought about that a million times," he said. "I mean, I'm much more appreciative of everything that's happened, but I don't think it's going to change me. I'd do the same thing. I'd do the same thing if the situation presented itself in the future."

Cornateanu is originally from Los Angeles, California. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He attended medical school at Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel.


GoFundMe account set up for children of Essen shooting victim

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