UNION CITY, Ga. (CBS46) A Union City police officer shot in the line of duty is home recovering and sharing his experience with CBS46.
Officer Jerome Turner, Jr. was shot six times on April 1 during a shootout that killed a suspect.
He spent three weeks in Grady Memorial Hospital and underwent four surgeries. He was shot all over his body including his toe, hip, knee, side, chest and his vest stopped a bullet to his mid-section. He said his vest saved his life.
He hopes other officers keep his experience in mind the next time they think they’re going out on just a routine call.
“We get really complacent oftentimes in law enforcement and say it’s just a routine day or it’s a routine call or it’s just such and such acting up, but it takes that one moment, that one time, that second and our lives can be changed forever and I was there, I was at the brink of it, so definitely a testament to wearing a vest,” Turner said.
He had no idea what he was in for when he went from hanging up a phone call with his wife talking about their date night to taking a call to respond to a fight. According to the GBI, Officer Turner was following up on leads when he started chasing a suspect, 19-year-old Veltavious Griggs.
“One thing transpired from another and before I knew it, I was in a gun fight,” he said.
Officers who responded to the scene found Griggs dead and Officer Turner shot several times. The GBI is still investigating the shooting.
While getting rushed to the hospital Turner made it a point to stay awake and was thinking about his wife and three children. He had a chance to see his wife at the hospital and reassured her he would be okay.
“The biggest thing for me was just to talk myself through it and say that I’m going home and just having that warrior mindset of I’m going to win and the WIN acronym is ‘what’s important now,’” said Turner.
He’s currently in a wheelchair as he goes through physical therapy, but he plans to return to the Union City Police Department when he’s back on his feet. The family is thankful for the outpouring of support they’ve received.
“The biggest thing I want to tell everybody is that I appreciate it, I humbly, humbly appreciate it,” he said.
He and his wife have talked about what a different turn the situation could have taken.
“We kind of just sat and talked about, you know, how grateful we were, how close we were, on the brink of me not being here anymore, we got real emotional and what not but just thankful for prayer and just knowing that higher power is here and he’s not done with me yet, it wasn’t my time,” he said.
Turner has been with UCPD for about nine months and formerly served as a police chief in Florida. When he returns to the job, he wants to turn his focus to crime prevention.
An online fundraiser has been created to help the Turner family: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-union-city-officer-amp-family