A police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, who believes something other than luck kept him alive following a drive-by shooting last month, recently spoke on television for the first time since the attack. The officer has asked not to be named out of concern for the safety of his family, USA Today reported.
After finishing his shift with the police department, the 39-year-old father and husband was sitting in his car when the St. Louis police chief says the off-duty officer was ambushed.
On July 14, while he was working an overnight shift for his side job providing security in the Central West End, he was attacked by four suspects, USA Today reported. He worked for about two hours before the summer heat got the best of him and the officer eventually took off his bulletproof vest.
He began to rethink his decision to remove the vest at about 4:30 a.m., when noticed several people on the street, USA Today reported.
"They were just walking. There was nothing particular about them but the hairs on my neck stood up," he recalled. "And at that point there was a voice that told me grab my vest. I know it was God."
He made the life-saving choice to put the vest back on shortly before the suspects pulled up next to his vehicle and opened fire on him, according to the official department account. The 16-year veteran says he believes the shooters targeted him because of the police uniform he was wearing.
Reports say when the suspects opened fire, the officer fired back and chased after his attacker all while knowing he had been hit. He told KSDK upon realizing he had been shot, he began praying for “the peace of mind to stay alive” for his family.
“My prayers were answered,” he said.
More than a dozen shots were exchanged in all, but the vest stopped the bullet that hit him near his ribs, USA Today reported.
“I know it sounds funny, but I'm glad that I stood in the gap of someone else not being a victim of these individuals wanting to cause crime in the neighborhood,” he said. “I'm glad I was there to stop them from doing that and make an arrest on these guys before they hurt anybody else."