Kaysville man who survived 7 bullets credits God, police and 2 armed citizens

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:03 AM

Loretta Park

KAYSVILLE — God told Steve Bailey He would heal him, and Bailey believed Him.

Bailey, 52, of Kaysville, is a deeply religious man who attends Christian Life Center in Layton.

He believes there were no coincidences on Sept. 21, but that God placed by his side two men who were legally carrying handguns and also sent police officers to rescue him within minutes after he was shot seven times by Johnny Rosales, 47.

“I remember getting shot once, and then God spoke to me and said, ‘Son, I’m going to heal you,’ and I said, ‘Yes, Lord,’ as I was shot a second time,” Bailey said.

Bailey, a maintenance worker at Francis Peak View apartments, said he does not remember the next five bullets entering his body, the two men who shot back and fatally wounded Rosales, the officers who carried him to safety or the helicopter ride to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.

He woke up in the hospital at one point and told his wife that he had “the most peaceful sleep. She said, ‘You weren’t asleep. You were dead. You died several times in the ER.’ ”

Kaysville Police Officer Brandon Woolf and Davis County Sheriff’s Deputies Kevin Brown and John Nicholas, the first three officers on the scene, did not find a pulse when they began working on Bailey. And they later heard from paramedics that Bailey had no pulse on the helicopter.

“We figured he wasn’t going to make it,” Nicholas said.

The two deputies recently met with Bailey for the first time since the shooting.

“You’re a modern miracle, my friend,” Nicholas said as he, Brown and Bailey sat down to talk about that day.

“You’re definitely a blessed man,” Brown said.

Woolf has not visited with Bailey since the shooting because his agency is still investigating it.

“It’s good to hear (Bailey’s) doing well and that we helped him survive,”Woolf said.

Bailey, who has lost 50 pounds since the shooting, said God has plans for him even though he does not know what those plans are.

Doctors are constantly telling him he’s a miracle and are amazed he is alive, Bailey said.

The man who shot him, Rosales, was found dead inside his apartment from gunshot wounds from the two men who returned fire, police said. Police have not released the names of the two because the case remains under investigation.

Bailey has spoken with both men and said they are traumatized from shooting another person.

“But I thank God they had their guns that day,” Bailey said.

“There is no doubt in my mind if someone else had not acted in Mr. Bailey’s behalf to stop the shooter, he would not be here today,” Nicholas said.

Bailey said he was told that, after he had been shot twice, Rosales rushed down the stairs and stood over him, shooting again and again. That’s when the other two men opened fire on Rosales, who then went back into his apartment.

The day started out perfect, Bailey said.

“It was a beautiful day. All the kids were out playing. Families were outside. It was a beautiful day,” he said.

Bailey got a call from one of the residents, asking if he could help move a refrigerator out of her apartment.

As he was moving the fridge, another maintenance worker stopped by. Then a resident came over and started talking to him.

“Then there was this commotion, and I looked over, and this guy was arguing with a woman,” Bailey said.

Bailey said he does not know what the verbal fight was about, but it was loud. He remembers suggesting to the man and woman they go back inside their respective apartments.

The man, later identified as Rosales, yelled at him.

“I told him to calm down, and I decided to call the office and have management deal with him,” Bailey said.

Bailey then opened up his small, older-model, black cellphone to call the main office.

The man yelled back at him, “ ‘I’m going to settle this right now,’ and he shot me,” Bailey said. “I’d only met him one other time.”

Woolf said he was at 200 North and Main Street, about two minutes away, when the 911 call came.

Nicholas and Brown, who work in the sheriff’s justice services division, were also nearby in separate cars.

“We ended up driving in here like a train, one cop car after another, within two minutes after the call,” Nicholas said.

When the officers arrived, the commons area was empty and people were peeking out of windows, pointing to where Bailey lay, the officers said.

“Steve was flat on his back when we found him,” Nicholas said.

With just seconds to make a determination, the three officers looked around a corner and decided to run out, grab Bailey and get him to safer spot.

They did not know at the time that Rosales was in the apartment just above their heads.

“He could have opened the door and popped us, and the outcome would’ve been a lot worse,” Nicholas said.

The three officers picked up the bloody, 240-pound Bailey and carried him through a breezeway and behind a building they hoped would offer them more protection.

While Woolf and Brown watched for any sign of the shooter, Nicholas started chest compressions, unaware that Bailey had a bullet in his heart. He only saw the bullet wound in the neck and one in the lower part of Bailey’s body.

“If I had known about the bullet in the heart, it would’ve changed my decision to do compressions,” Nicholas said.

Moments later, officers from agencies across the Top of Utah were at the scene, along with SWAT teams, paramedics and a helicopter. Two hours after the shooting started, officers found Rosales, dead from gunshot wounds, inside his apartment.

Bailey spent a month at McKay-Dee Hospital, undergoing numerous surgeries.

Bailey said doctors wanted to insert a device in his heart that had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA representative flew out from Washington to give the approval.

He goes to physical therapy and sees a doctor for checkups. The doctor tells him the constant pain is normal for having been shot in the heart, liver, kidney, neck, spine and other areas.

“There isn’t much more they can do for me now,” said Bailey, who uses a cane.

The day of the shooting, residents talked about Bailey’s willingness to help others and how he talked to them regularly about his belief in God.

Bailey had no second thoughts about returning to the apartment complex where he has worked and lived for the past four years with his wife, Susana, and their two sons, ages 11 and 8.

“That is, I didn’t really think about it until I walked in the door, and then I was afraid, but I thought I can’t live in fear,” Bailey said. “I need to trust God.”

By and large, he loves the people in the apartment complex. Many have visited with him since he has returned home.

The Davis County Sheriff’s Office recently presented both Brown and Nicholas with a Medal of Bravery for their efforts to save Bailey.

Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg said his office has to wait until the Davis County Attorney’s Office reviews the case before he considers presenting awards to Woolf or others who helped that day.

“I’m grateful that so many agencies turned out to help us that day,” Oberg said. “A shooting like that can quickly overwhelm a small department like ours.”

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