MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Amanda Proffitt marked the first anniversary of 17-year-old Joseph Davis’s death with a gesture she hopes could someday save someone else: Free CPR lessons.
"Somebody that needs help will get it,” she said Wednesday night. “I wanted these kids to know that firsthand, how to help if need be."
She said she tried to help Davis, too, that night in 2018. He had been shot four times at the intersection of Woodlawn Avenue and Garfield by the time her daughter — Davis’s friend Kanaeya — came running for help.
Proffitt spotted the bike before she spotted the body.
“I’ve seen bunch of people standing, and they didn’t know what to do at that point,” she said. “They were just standing there shell-shocked, kind of.”
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She had to be the one to act. She said she knelt beside him and performed CPR, keeping up a steady flow of conversation as she did. (A woman to whom WCPO spoke shortly after the shooting said she had helped Proffitt in this effort; Proffitt did not mention her Wednesday.)
"I just kept talking to him because I wanted him to know that somebody was there, that he wasn't alone at that point,” she said.
It kept him alive long enough to be transported to a nearby hospital but not much longer. He died at the hospital, and a 16-year-old was charged with murder in connection to his death.
Proffitt said she still wonders if arriving earlier might have been able to save him.
She’ll never know. All she knows is what she can do — teach others to intervene at another crucial moment in hopes of a different outcome.
"Even if you help them get 30 minutes of air, you're still helping them get something,” she told her students Thursday.