Michael G. Carr, a veteran West Sacramento firefighter who was honored for rushing to help a shooting victim without regard for his own safety, died Saturday of leukemia, his family said. He was 66.
In 1990, Mr. Carr was driving home at night from a River City High School football game with his wife and son when shots rang out, including one that hit his vehicle. His wife spotted a victim on the ground.
With no time to wait for police, the off-duty firefighter jumped out of his car to give first aid. The victim, who was bleeding heavily from three shotgun blasts, died several weeks later in a hospital.
The West Sacramento Fire Department presented its Medal of Valor to Mr. Carr, who retired as a captain in 2000. He told The Bee why he ran to the victim without knowing if the gunman was still around.
"It was just a split-second decision on my part," he said.
"He kept saying, 'No one cares about me, I'm dying,' and I kept telling him that we cared and we didn't want to see him die."
A West Sacramento native, Michael George Carr devoted his life to his hometown. Born March 26, 1946, he grew up in the Bryte neighborhood and graduated from James Marshall High School, where he excelled in football and track.
He served in the Air Force and joined the Fire Department in 1969. He raised two children with his wife of 46 years, Betty. He coached Little League baseball, enjoyed fishing and traveling with friends, and cherished West Sacramento's small-town values.
Mr. Carr recently spent 3 1/2 months undergoing treatment at University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center for a rare form of leukemia. Friends organized a spaghetti dinner to help pay for his and his wife's expenses.
"So many people bought tickets and sent checks if they couldn't come even people we didn't even know," his wife said. "He was humbled and eternally grateful."
Besides his wife, Mr. Carr is survived by his children, Kerri of West Sacramento, and Ryan of Pleasant Hill; brothers, Larry of West Sacramento, and Danny of Carmichael; and six grandchildren.
A celebration of life is set for 11 a.m. Friday at River Cities Funeral Chapel, 910 Soule St., West Sacramento. Memorial donations may be made to the Childhood Leukemia Foundation or Sacramento Firefighters Burn Institute.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.