I am a native of the southwest side of Chicago and currently reside in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood. I started the Chicago Police Academy on 10 May 1999, graduated on 28 September and was immediately assigned to 007th District. After 99 months there, I transferred to the 004th district with some officers I met in 007. Working midnights in 004 kept me busy and allowed me to make some great friends – Then came that crazy night on 16 August 2002.
My partner John Cherep and I responded to a “check the well being” call at 8547 Saginaw. We were met by the caller who said he was concerned about his uncle who lived there. To complicate matters, somebody was shooting at him earlier in the evening. When we approached we could see that there were several bullet holes in the windows and frame of the house. After several knocks and screams for his uncle we attempted to make a forced entry. As I began kicking at a side door I heard a loud “boom” and fell forward. I quickly moved to the corner with the help of my partner, but didn’t realize the boom was a gun shot. I was struck with a though and through shot just above my left knee. We radioed for assistance and I was taken to Christ Hospital for treatment.
Luckily I was okay, but I found out the next day about a horrific crash between two police cars responding to my call for help. Miquel Cuadrado and Tim Casey crashed into a car driven by Cedric Brumely; all friends of mine from the watch. Those three officers are a great example of the hard work and dedication of the CPD. Cedric suffered a severe injury which leaves him in a wheelchair. Miquel and Tim also suffered serious injuries while coming to my aid.
It was shortly after this incident that I met Steve Tyler and members of the Police survivors. They were and are great, giving officers. They are people to talk to who have also been through serious job-related incidents.
I still sort of blame myself for what happened that night. “What if” sometimes comes to mind. I have remained friends with Cedric and he has put me at ease with the events of that night. He has assured me it was not my fault and he knows I would have been rushing to his scene if that call came out.
The following summer I transferred to the 008thdistrict to join a gang team. I had a great time in 008 and never thought I would be back in 004. However, I was promoted to sergeant in July of 2008 and was assigned to the 004th District. I was very happy about this assignment because there are many hard working, good people there. I have stayed involved with the Police Survivors and have become more active with the Police Memorial Foundation. Both organizations are concerned with looking out for officers’ health and well being and I’m glad to support them.
I would also like to thank both organizations for all the assistance they have given me over the last 2 years. On 01 Jan 2009 something occurred while off duty. I was out watching football games and the next thing I remember is mid February 2009. I spent 21 Days in a coma and 51 total days in Christ Hospital and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The doctors thought I might pass and if I survived never walk or talk again. Well, the Survivors and Memorial were always there for mental support. Even though I was off duty when this happened, I was part of the police family and they were there for me. After 11 months on the medical I returned to work and proved the doctors wrong. This past fall, I ran the Chicago Marathon as part of team CPD and I am enrolled at Adler School working on my masters in police psychology. At times I wanted to give up, but seeing true hero warriors like Cedric, the members of the Police Survivors and Police Memorial Foundation I kept moving forward because I can’t let them, my family or my police family down after all the help and support they have given me.