A man in a suburban Los Angeles Home Depot Wednesday evening used saws normally used to slice sheet rock to cut both his arms down to the bone in front of several horrified customers, police said.
The man, who was not immediately identified, suffered severe injuries. He was found in a pool of blood in the store's tool section. He had a slight pulse but was passing out as help arrived.
"People just couldn't believe it," Cpl. Rudy Lopez, with West Covina Police Department, told KNBC-TV. "He walked into the saw area, picked up a couple of saws in the saw area and started cutting both of his arms."
An off-duty paramedic from the Pasadena Fire Department had been shopping nearby and hurried to the scene.
"The officers had already found the man down, face down, blood all over the store, multiple aisles, and the whole store is in chaos," the paramedic, Art Hurtado, told KNBC-TV.
Hurtado thought the man was dead but when he checked he found breath and a slight pulse and said he thought to himself, "I can save this guy."
With help from police and store employees, Hurtado collected rope and rags from store shelves and put makeshift tourniquets on both arms, most likely saving the man's life, police said.
"Were we in a good place for it? No, but you improvise," Hurtado said. "If I didn't have rope I'd have used my shoelaces. We would have made it work."
The man was in surgery hours after the incident, said Spl. Rudy Lopez, from the West Covina police. He knew nothing more of the man’s condition.
The man, who looked to be in his 40s, was carrying no identification, has been unable to answer questions, and was not heard saying anything in the store, so police do not know his name or why he cut himself, Lopez said.
Police interviewed about five people who said they saw what happened, and Lopez said there were likely many more who quickly left the disturbing scene.
"It was pretty graphic," he said. The store was shut down the rest of the day.
The Associated Press contributed to this report