Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Whew....close call!

Yes, I know, I know, I know! It's been a couple-few months since my last confes-- Oops, I mean BLOG ENTRY. Talmadge has delivered 1000 lashes with a wet noodle, and Bolivar has also reprimanded me. SO, here are a few thoughts that are bouncing around in my head that I'd like to get out:

First, a very scary thing happened to my family this past weekend. My very sweet cousin, who is a deputy sheriff in a county near where my parents live, was shot while on duty. He's only 25, and had only been in law enforcement since last May, I believe. (Bolivar and Nettiemac, you may or may not remember him, he was at our rehearsal dinner.)

He was patrolling late Friday night (actually 1 a.m. Saturday morning) and a car with its radio blasting passed him. Well, he pulled the car over, just to warn the fellow to turn the radio down. As he was approaching the car, the driver got out and fired at cuz, striking him in the face, just below his right eye. While he was on the ground, semi-unconcious, the guy tried to shoot him again, but the GUN JAMMED. So he started pistol-whipping him while trying to get his gun out of his holster. Cuz managed to regain his senses and get away from the attacker. He got back to his car as the guy ran for his, and with his training and instincts kicking in, Cuz fired a round at the guy's car as he was getting away. He filled that car with holes (I saw pictures of it on the news). But the guy still got away.

He called for help, and they got him to the hospital. He was stabilized and taken to another hospital nearby, where he was listed in serious condition in the ICU.

Fortunately, he was not hit in any vital areas. The small-caliber bullet is lodged against his 1st cervical vertebra and that vertebra has a hairline fracture. The doctor said that if the bullet had gone just millimeters further, he might have been killed or paralyzed. He's also lost a few of his molars - those are what slowed the bullet down. He will have to wear a neck brace for 2-3 months, have dental work done, and once the fractured vertebra is healed they may do surgery to remove the bullet, but because of the fracture he's better off with the bullet remaining in there.

Believe it or not, he went home yesterday evening. Just four days after being shot in the face, he was released to go home.

What a miracle - first that he was not critically injured, and second that the attacker didn't get that second shot in, which could have been a fatal shot. We are all convinced that God had a hand in this miracle, no doubt. He sent Cuz's guardian angel - Cuz's father who passed away 11 years ago at the age of 41 from leukemia - to protect him.

I think the physically he will recuperate just fine. He is young and strong. But, think of this - this is one of those things that will either strengthens an officer's conviction to his job or make him consider a new line of work. I can only imagine what goes through the mind of someone who came so close to losing his life. I mean, I know every police officer knows going in the risks involved in this job. The reality of this risk literally hit Cuz square in the face this weekend. I myself would be scared sh--less to get back out there again.

There have been a couple of incidents since he started in law enforcement that were a lot more risky - the high speed chase, a foot chase when he was just a rookie without a gun chasing a guy with one, and probably a few others that I don't know about - and to get out of those unscathed. But c'mon we're talking about a small rural Georgia county, not friggin' Atlanta, or even Albany, or Savannah with it's high crime rate! Then to get shot in the face while just trying to tell a guy to turn down his radio. That's GOT to somehow get you f---ed up in the head. Or at least make you re-evaluate your life.

Then again, this could have just been a minor setback for him and he gets back out there wiser and a little more cautious.

Whatever comes of it, I'm just going to pray for a smooth recuperation for him and that he suffers no permanent physical or mental damage from this. He's a good guy and deserves to live a full and happy life.

Talmadge told me that, after this incident, he became more than "just another deputy" in the area, as his name has become pretty well known throughout many of the law enforcement agencies in the area. Might open up some great career opportunities for him in the future. "What department wouldn't want to hire "the man who survived a bullet to the face"??" Tal said.

As far as the guy who shot him.......he turned himself in around 9:00 that morning. This guy has served prison time for aggravated assault and had several violations for obstruction of an officer and eluding police. He is now charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, criminal attempt to commit murder (!!!), obstruction of a police officer, removal of a firearm of a police officer, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His future is pretty messed up now. All because he was playing his radio too loud.