Officer Involved Critical Incident: Our Story, Part 3

{Part 3}

You may be thinking that the worst is over. The hubby survived his attack and we would go home and just resume life with little modifications for his injuries to heal.

But honestly, the attack was just the beginning.

We had no idea what was ahead. And while there were a lot of trials, we started to see a lot of tender mercies and blessings.

And I am continuing to share because this nightmare is a reality for TOOOOOO many of our police officers.

In fact, according to the FBI statistics 60,211 officers were assaulted the year my hubby was attacked. Of the 60,211 assaulted…17,476 sustained injuries.

1 in 10 officers were assaulted that year. Let that sink in. 1 in 10.

1 in 10 law enforcement families are living this hell that I am typing. And some live the hell of LOSING their officer. Some live this hell multiple times from multiple incidents.

And these incidents impact not just the officer but those in their family and even those who know him.

So let’s get back to it.

The hubby had just been attacked and is now in the ambulance headed to the hospital.

I am at home listening to my children sing hymns while getting ready for the day.

Then I headed down to sit on the couch and do some work while trying to take the pregnancy nausea.

Then it happened.

I received a phone call that I will never forget.

My husband called and when I answered he didn’t say anything.

I said “what’s up?” thinking maybe he didn’t hear me or something at work was distracting him. Which is common.

Another long pause.

“Hey”. But his voice wasn’t normal. It was panicked and shaken.

My heart began racing. Something was wrong.

“I’m okay.” Words you want to hear but don’t want to hear.

“I was just in a fight and I am on my way to the hospital. Sally (name changed) is on her way to come pick you up.”

Being in a fight is one thing. It has happen countless times before.

But needing a police escort means it’s serious.

I started to panic. But was trying to hold it together. So I was holding my breath in between talking.

“Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Its just my head and ankle.”

Ummmmm…your head and ankle?!

He didn’t say much more. I could tell he was in shock. My mind is RACING. I had no clue what to expect with such limited information.

We get off and he sent me a link to a KSL article that is very vague but scared me even more. “2 officers injured in officer involved shooting.”

I sent a text to his dad and my mom. And I definitely didn’t word it well considering I was now in shock too.

“My worst nightmare is happening. Greg was just in a fight and is headed to the hospital now.”

Then I had a full on panic attack. I couldn’t breathe as I tried to explain to my homeschool helper that I needed to leave.

She reassured me that she would care for the kids as long as needed.

My phone rings again. This time it’s from a deputy chief to tell me he is with Sally and they are just around the corner.

Now I know it’s serious. Deputy chiefs don’t always come to escort.

I rush outside to meet them.

Two officers and the deputy chief arrive. In two different cars.

The extra officer was a buddy I knew well. He reassured me that my hubby would be okay. But that’s it.

They couldn’t tell me anything. Nothing. They couldn’t tell me how he was (what types of injuries) or if he was the officer who had to shoot.

This part of policing is what absolutely blows. The silence everyone has for take because of the investigation.

It was the longest 30 minutes to the hospital, not knowing what really happened and the extent of his injuries.

I told Sally I was so nauseous. She knew I was pregnant and offered gum to try and help ease it.

I remember thinking that I was going to have to puke in my backpack if I couldn’t get it together.

We finally arrive. And in hurrying out the door, I didn’t even think about my insurance card. “Wait. Do I need my insurance card?”

The deputy chief chuckled. “No, we have this covered.”

As we walked in the hospital, I looked at the nurses at the front desk. They said nothing but nodded their heads. You could see in their eyes that they were saying “I am sorry!”.

Once again…comforting but not. Because THEY know how my hubby is. But I had no freaking clue.

We finally get to his room and there are officers everywhere outside of his room.

I pull the curtain to get in and my heart was racing. I was soooo nervous and didn’t know what to expect. Would he be mutilated? Was he still conscious?

And then I saw him. He looked at me and his eyes said it all. It was AWFUL.

The 4 officers in the room leave so that he can talk to me. Because as a spouse, he can tell me everything. But those officers….he couldn’t say anything. So they had to leave.

I am sure they would have left anyway….but it’s just another level of frustration when you can’t talk.

The first time he spoke about this was to me. Almost 2 hrs after it happened. It absolutely frustrates me that officers have to bottle this crap up. 2 hrs of not being able to vocalize how terrifying it is to have someone want to murder you and almost successfully do so.

The defeat and frustration in his voice was heart wrenching and frustrating for me to witness as he told me his story.

He lost his baton in the fight and it was used against him.

NOW I understand why everyone was so panicked. I had multiple officers tell me that they expected traumatic brain injury based on witness reports.

They didn’t know if he would be the same.

My hubby was in shock for another couple hours before I saw his eyes come back to normal.

The next few hours were busy.

I felt helpless in a lot of ways. He had dried blood all over his face and arms. And it had to stay there until crime scene could come take photos.

Finally after they did that, I asked if I could clean him up. It was the only thing I could do to feel that I had some way to make this a little better.

After visitors from every single admin, including the chief himself, and multiple tests including x rays and CT scans, the results were in.

The attending doctor said “you have no fractures in your eye sockets. No sign of traumatic brain injury. And I am shocked. Based on what happened, you should have shattered eye sockets and we expected some brain injury.”

We were so relieved.

But now what?

The chief came back in to tell us that since he wasn’t the officer who shot this man, he didn’t need to be on paid admin leave. He would be on medical leave until he was healed.

I was so grateful that this burden wasn’t added on top of his injuries. While there was still an investigation and stress and silence that comes with that, he was under the pressure of a criminal investigation.

Yes, officers who use their weapons are under a criminal investigation until proven innocent. It’s a little bass-ackwards, isn’t it?

Yes, I understand why. But that is a huge burden to bear. And the DA has had incidents take over a year to clear.

So we were grateful that he wasn’t under paid admin leave but still had to be very much involved with the investigation which would come in the next few weeks.

Greg’s brother who lived near came when I texted him. I didn’t drive and I thought Greg would like to have a family member to take him home and be with us while at the hospital.

He of course came and gladly helped in any way he could.

As we left the hospital, many of the original officers who were there from the Maverik to the hospital still stayed. It was past their shift for some, but they stayed.

And as we left the hospital, my mom and brother were standing in the front entrance waiting for us.

Having them there was such a big relief for me. Everyone needs their momma in situations like that. And she knew it. So her, my dad, and my brother drove up to lift us up during such a scary and heavy ordeal.

The officers escorted us home, knowing we needed that extra protection. Because, it turns out this man was involved in gangs and retaliation is something we now feared on top of everything else.

I drove home with my mom and dad. And for the first time I told my mom about not finding the babies heartbeat. I told her my midwife was planning to come to our house the next day to try and find it. But I would text her and see if she could wait a couple more days.

I was way too stressed and I couldn’t deal with one more thing. I told my mom “if she can’t find the heartbeat, I will probably turn into a psychopath”.

My heart just couldn’t imagine having one more traumatic thing happening so I needed a few more days before I would find out for sure.

We made it home. The officers walked us in, made jokes and laughed with us for a while.

Then they left. But one stayed in front of our house for a few more hours. Just to make us feel better.

Talking through things and letting them settle for a bit, it became evident then that Greg was protected and saved and it’s a miracle he is alive with no long term damage to his brain.

We still don’t know if he was actually hit in the head with the baton or if he was fully protected from it connecting. But either way, we felt angels around us even though this was such a heavy ordeal.

Stay tuned for part 4.

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