Update on a story of a Trooper shot

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contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
24,835
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Most of y'all will recall back in July my posting about my heart stopping when I heard about a good friend, a State Highway Patrolman getting shot point blank with a .44 magnum from a Desert Eagle.

Well, a little update.

I got a call the other day with the wishes that he & another one of our good friends wanted to come & use my range on Saturday. Now,, it's my muzzleloader deer season, and also Veterans day,, a day I only do the things I want to do,, & spend it in a fashion that reflects Freedom, and sharing a bond with fellow vets. Most often,, I do go to a dinner with a couple of fellow local vets with whom I'm good friends.

I immediately agreed to have Jeff & Anthony come to my range & enjoy a day of shooting. A no-brainer to me. I asked them to text me when they were about to arrive,, as I'd deer hunt until they got there. Well, I got my text,, and I slipped out of the woods, and they were here.

Of course,, we enjoyed a bit of friendly BSing for a little while,, catching up in general, and then Jeff said; "Thanks for letting us come down." I replied that my preference for spending Veterans day was doing thing just for me & enjoying freedom. That it was easy to do so. Jeff stuck out his hand, and said; "Thanks for your service." As I shook his hand, I wouldn't let go, and said; "While it isn't military service, you are a true brother in arms. You serve, and you have been under fire, hit & survived. I thank you for your service."

As we locked eyes on this,,, I knew he understood, and I saw his humility.

Then Jeff & I spent some time discussing the actual events,, what he did, how it progressed from a simple "disabled vehicle, to a gunfight" & beyond.

Very enlightening,, and proved a lot of what the many simple truths about stress, a gunfight, distances, thoughts & actions that happen so quickly. Plus,, he allowed he was wearing a Level II vest, and it's not really rated for a .44 mag, but he also had an insert. He took the round dead center of his chest. He did have a small abrasion wound from the impact rubbing of his clothing & vest. And as the days passed after it,, he got sore on day 2 until about day 5. He also got a darn big bruising area. I saw the pictures.

While he was cleared within a few days by the local DA, and all, the State still has to do it's investigation & make a ruling. He's still on leave until they get finished. I'm sure part of the delay is to allow him to get his mind in a better place.

But he shared a lot with me,, much more than he's shared with others. I won't go into details as some of it was very personal, & I knew he was opening up with me about deeper thoughts & such. For that,, I was honored.

But,, to hear him tell his story,, I could not help but compare it all to the times I've had fellow vets describe the first time they experienced combat. Yet,, his was even more personal. It was point blank, and direct.

The biggest take away he allowed was that his constant training in USPSA competition, allowed him to react much quicker, and without thinking of his actions, except that; "It's a gunfight, and I need to engage." He said he hasn't seen the video,, and don't know if he will. But a Sargent of his said that he reviewed it under slo-motion and said Jeff was very, very precise & fast in his draw & engagement.

Jeff is in a very good place mentally, and is patiently awaiting his return to patrol.

So,, Jeff, Anthony, & I enjoyed several hours of shooting, conversations, and a lot of good natured ribbing of each other that we've all 3 done so many times before. Later in the day,,, a fellow Vet & I had plans for dinner, so I left Jeff & Anthony with my range,, as I trust them impeccably.
As I left,, I shook Jeff's hand, hugged him, and whispered; "God Bless Brother! If you need me, I'm here." And just like the one word text I received from him right after I heard he'd gotten shot & was ok, I got a simple; "Thanks."

Made my Veterans Day dern near perfect!
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
24,835
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Thanks Dan,, but to me,, having Jeff just be able to come here was an honor. Knowing how close he came to dying in the line of duty,, yet,, not only overcoming the attack,, and preventing any potential future tragedy this individual could have done,, well, he deserves honor as any military veteran has.

But I want to try & convey the experiences he shared about what can happen so quickly, and how being prepared, not only with physical skills, but the necessary emotional mindset is so important.

Jeff said that while he's been able to enjoy competition & such for so many years,, he now fully knows it helped him build skills that saved his life. And he plans on trying to promote this concept as much as he can. He credits his personal enjoyment of shooting,, combined with the training the HP gave him,, helped a ton.
He commented that they are taught, that if someone starts a threat,, to first take cover. He said he remembers thinking about turning towards his vehicle for cover,, but immediately realized it was too late. He said; "I knew I was in a gunfight, before I could take cover." He allows that if he had tried to continue towards cover,, he would have exposed his side to the shooter,, and possibly taken a hit in an area NOT protected by his vest.

I have spoken with a few other officers who heard the calls, or were on the scene afterwards. Every one of them have made various comments on how calm, professional, or otherwise level headed Jeff handled himself. A couple have said; "You heard him on the radio,, yet there was zero stress in his voice,, and you would not think HE was the officer shot."

So I challenge all of us here to try & do stuff to improve your skills as much as possible. Practice real world self defense,, & not just stand & punch paper. Incorporate movement, shooting from a draw, some form of stress, ( a timer, and a score sheet,) and things that make you truly develop motor memory skills with a firearm. That tool may be necessary to to save your life or the lives of loved ones. Get good with it!
 

Bigbore5

Single-Sixer
Joined
Aug 29, 2022
Messages
166
Location
Stanley NC
The fight is the part you trained and drilled for. It's those nights that come later that nobody's prepared for.

Recently a coworker and veteran struggling with PTSD took his own life. I've had my bad nights too.

Talking to someone who will just listen is the way to make it through. When he just needs to talk, just listen.
 
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