An incident report from the Kosciusko County Sheriff's …
An incident report from the Kosciusko County Sheriff's …
The Auburn Police Department is asking the public for help in …
Police have identified a couple seen making purchases on a …
A Roman Catholic religious order released an unusually candid …
Several students testified Tuesday against a former Shelbyville…
Updated: Wednesday, 05 Sep 2012, 11:51 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 05 Sep 2012, 11:51 AM EDT
GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) -- Matt Fox has pulled over thousands of motorists. Only a half-dozen ever tried to get away -- all, it turned out, were drunk and afraid of going to jail.
That's what he expected on the night of July 27, when he chased down a Volvo in rural Hancock County and the driver jumped from the car. But instead of running in the other direction, he ran toward Fox, bullets spraying from a .45 handgun.
"I expected him to flee on foot," recalled Fox, a veteran policeman in the Hancock County town of Fortville.
"That's what was going through my head when we went off road. . . . Honestly, most people try to outrun the cops.
"They don't normally try to engage the police or try to confront the police."
Fox spoke to The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/Tmpkgn ) Tuesday evening while sitting in the living room of his Greenfield home, recalling the night he sustained gunshot wounds to his head, chest, hand, and forearm.
His 30th birthday came on July 31 while he was still in intensive care at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
At least five bullets penetrated Fox's body. He says he is eager to see his bulletproof vest once it's released from an evidence room to see whether it absorbed any more.
The suspect, James Lockhart III, died. When police tried to apprehend him, according to police, he shot at them, too, and they returned fire.
Fox was working a 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. shift as part of a drunken-driving task force involving several police agencies. A missing taillight in Lockhart's car is what prompted Fox to try to pull him over.
"Most law-abiding citizens always stop for lights, for a police officer, so when somebody's not wanting to pull over and takes off, it heightens your awareness of what's going on," Fox said. "Did this guy just commit a murder? You don't know. . . . It definitely gets your adrenaline running."
Fox said he thought he would die that night.
"I knew I got hit in the head," he recalled. "A head shot is often a fatal injury or a life-changing injury (where) you might be alive but have mental issues from the injuries."
After arriving at the hospital, he realized that he would survive.
"It was when I got to the hospital and they started working on me," he said. "And I remember waking up in the hospital room and knowing that they were saying I would be fine. Then I got to take that deep breath."
A dash cam video from Fox's patrol car recorded the whole scenario. The suspect is seen aiming the gun straight at Fox. The audio captures the pop-pop-pop of the gunshots.
After firing his initial shots, the suspect is seen running toward Fox's patrol car. He leaves the camera's field of view, and then more shots are heard.
"That would be the very first time I've had a handgun pointed at me," Fox said, "let alone have one fired at me. I don't even know the words to describe it. It's a very terrifying moment, especially being hit as many times as I was."
The experience has left Fox more appreciative of life, he said, and more devoted to cherishing every moment with his family. He lives with his girlfriend, Alissa, and their daughter, 4-year-old Megan.
"It definitely gives you a better sense of how precious life is," he said, "and how life could change in a matter of a split second."
Fox said he cannot think of anything he would have done differently the night of the incident. He has worked as a police-academy instructor, teaching recruits to stay inside the car and wait until backup arrives if they have reason to be leery of a suspect. Fox was following that rule.
"In the (dash cam) video," he said, "you hear me yelling, `Shut off your car. Show me your hands. Do it now.'
You don't leave your castle wall and go to his castle wall because you don't know what's in his castle."
He declined to speculate on whether he might have been able to draw his own weapon more quickly to incapacitate his attacker. On other details of the shooting, he also declined to elaborate, saying he's been told not to say anything that could jeopardize an investigation that remains open.
The possibility remains that the family of the slain suspect could sue Lawrence police on a claim of wrongful death, as sometimes happens in police-action shootings.
For now, Fox said, he is focused on getting healthy and being thankful. Doctors, he said, told him they at first thought they might have to amputate his left hand. After extensive surgery, however, he is able to move all his fingers. He continues to attend therapy sessions related to his head injury.
"It's a lot of classroom work on cognitive thinking," he said. "I was diagnosed with a brain injury. I had memory issues at first, but I've overcome them.
"We work on problem solving, occupational therapy, speech therapy. . . . I'm making progress every day. It will be five weeks Friday (since the shooting). My balance was off. Now I've passed all my balance tests with flying colors."
He might have more surgery on his hand to remove scar tissue; the doctors, he said, essentially rebuilt
it using plates and rods.
And he hopes to return to full-time police work next year. The sooner the better, he said.
Ground rules for posting comments: No profanity or personal attacks. No racially charged comments. If it's not something you would say to someone's face, it's most likely inappropriate. Please comment on the subject of the story itself. If you do not follow these rules, we will remove your post. Repeat offenders will be banned from making future comments. Keep it civil, folks! WANE is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section.