What’s more, they understand that moment could come entirely unexpectedly. A routine call can turn fatal without any prior warning.
Indeed, that’s what almost happened to an Auburn, Alabama, police officer. And while not all of his colleagues survived a fatal encounter, one did and has enjoyed a touching reunion with him.
According to The Birmingham News, the incident in question occurred on May 19. Officers were called to a mobile home park due to a domestic disturbance.
Little did they know that suspect Grady Wayne Wilkes allegedly lay in wait for them. The Army veteran reportedly donned protective headgear and body armor and armed himself.
Auburn Police Capt. Lorenza Doresy stated that the officers were fired upon when they arrived at Wilkes’ residence. Bullets struck three of the officers before Wilkes was apprehended by police without further violence.
“Officers knocked on the door, and Wilkes answered the door wearing body armor and was armed with a rifle,” court records stated. “After Wilkes opened the door, he immediately began firing at the officers.”
Officer Evan Elliott suffered from non-life-threatening wounds. But officer William Buechner was mortally injured.
A GoFundMe campaign reported that the last officer of the three was Webb Sistrunk. He took a round to the shoulder.
That injury landed him in intensive care, and doctors eventually had him airlifted to Columbus, Georgia, so he could receive more specialized care.
According to the Associated Press, though, there was another police professional involved in the shooting that wasn’t injured: Sistrunk’s K9 partner Leon.
WRBL reported that when Sistrunk got moved to critical care as his recovery progressed, he received a special visitor. Leon came to see him in the hospital.
Medical staff lined the halls as Leon trotted into Sistrunk’s room. “Hey, buddy,” the officer said as soon as he saw his dog, “I missed you.”
For Leon’s part, he nuzzled into Sistrunk’s hand. Then he leaped up onto the bed and planted a series of wet kisses on his partner’s face.
“It’s really good,” Sistrunk said. “He’s my best friend.”
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