Phil was a 40 year old cop with 18 years on the force. I saw him in consultation after an incident one night in Bridgeport.
While on patrol, Phil and his partner received a radio call about a fire in a clothing store. With Phil driving, they arrived at the scene and saw a burning carton inside the darkened store. Fire trucks were on the way.
Before the call, they’d stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee. As his partner got out of the patrol car to investigate, Phil took a sip of the coffee, set the cup on the dash and leaned back. The front window of the patrol car exploded. Phil felt a sledgehammer-like blow near his right armpit. His body slammed back and he fell onto the seat. He was shot. He reached for the radio, but couldn’t get to it. About to lose consciousness, he realized his partner was shoving him over in order to hop into the patrol car and take off. The vehicle stalled.
Bullets hit the car’s hood and doors. Phil’s partner got the vehicle started and raced to a nearby hospital, where Phil underwent a series of surgeries for severe nerve and muscle damage to a group of nerves in the armpit.
Weeks later, Phil had only limited use of his weakened right arm, could barely lift things, and felt burning sensations down the arm. He felt severe pain, especially in cold weather. He could no longer work as a police officer. He was forced to take a disability pension. He’d always wanted to be a cop and had planned on a 25 year career. But it was not to be.