Nightly News

Bystanders Describe Final Moments of Fallen Soldier in Canada

Lawyer Barbara Winters rushed to the side of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo after he was fatally shot by a gunman in Ottawa.

Winters had just passed the National War Memorial when she heard gunfire and found a group of people gathered around the fallen soldier, all fighting to save his life.

“He died in the arms of five caring people,” she told NBC News’ Kevin Tibbles. “All of whom worked very hard to save him and all of whom had their hands on him when he died.”

They were complete strangers, but they worked as a team – Winters began chest compressions, a passerby named Martin Magnan kept Cirillo’s legs elevated and another soldier administered mouth-to-mouth.

Margaret Lerhe, a former nurse, saw the gunman after he fired the first shot and quickly ran to Cirillo’s aid.

“It’s a rare experience to have five or six strangers focus on that one task to do their duty to a fallen soldier,” she said.

Winters moved to Cirillo’s head and tried to comfort him, telling him he was loved.

“I hope he heard me,” she said.

Cirillo would later die in the arms of the strangers and the soldiers who ran toward danger to help him.

“We are not heroes,” Lerhe said. “We were just able to help in the ways we could.”