Corey Owens, Lubbock PD was injured in the line of duty on May 30th, 2015.
Officer Corey Owens parked his patrol vehicle while responding to a call to direct traffic around a flooded area in Lubbock.
A drunk driver then struck Owen’s vehicle causing it to collide with him. The front end of the police unit spun 180 degrees and struck Officer Owens, crushing his right foot against the curb of the median and sending his body sliding across the median, knocking Officer Owens unconscious.
Fellow officers found Owens laying face-down on the roadway after the crash. He was unconscious at first. As he regained consciousness, he did not know where he was. Owens sustained serious injuries and was transported to University Medical Center
But what happened next is still a blur…
“The next thing I know, I’m waking up in the hospital and the doctor is telling me that my leg’s going to be amputated and that’s about it. That’s all I remember,” Owens said. “It crossed through my mind for a brief minute, hoping (they) could do anything they can to fix it and I hadn’t seen my leg, I didn’t know how bad it was, but I was just hoping somehow they could find a way to get it back to normal.”
Officer Owens right foot was amputated below the knee. Officer Owens and his wife, Felicia, have two young boys, Colsyn & Cardyn. The driver that hit Officer Owens car, did not have a driver license, but only a Texas ID card. One witness told police that she estimated Tello was driving a car “68 or 70” miles per hour. Data recovered from Tello’s car indicated the speed was 71 miles per hour at the moment of the crash. The speed had been even higher in the moments before the crash.
Officer Owens has had support from his family in blue, his family and friends have been there for him and will continue to be by his side as they face this life changing road to recovery. They are especially grateful to their immediate family and friends, their “Blue” family, the Police Department, the Lubbock Professional Police Association, the Police Wives Group, Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation, and many more who continue to surround them with love and prayers.
Every time we hear a news story of an injured peace officer, we pray the next line will tell us the injury is not life threatening.It is never more important that we look behind the badge. Men and women who serve and protect, but who are also our friends, and neighbors as we all raise families side by side in our communities.
Sgt. Houston Gass
Sgt. Houston Gass couldn’t even speak when his three children walked into his Lubbock hospital room for the first time.
Sgt. Gass was injured during a standoff in Pampa on Jan. 6. Police were called to the residence in Pampa on a report of a domestic disturbance with gun shots being fired. Officers, including Sgt. Gass, attempted to make contact with the person inside. Upon entry, the suspect fired more shots. The standoff lasted close to five hours and involved multiple police units from across the panhandle, including the Amarillo Police Department’s SWAT Unit.
After being shot in the jaw, Sgt. Gass laid in bed with a tube down his throat. His two boys — ages 3 and 4 — were scared. But his 7-year-old daughter began hugging him. “My wounds looked really bad,” Gass said. “It scared them a lot, but one of the biggest things, and this is probably one of the biggest reasons why I have to go back to doing what I was doing, is I have to teach them that it’s OK to be scared but you also have to face your fear.”
Gass is expected to be back at his home in Pampa to continue his recovery. Depending on how quickly his jaw heals, Gass said it’ll be anywhere between eight months and a year before he can return to work at the Pampa Police Department.
With white gauze wrapped around his jaw, Gass said he doesn’t remember the immediate aftermath of being shot on the job.
Instead, he remembers an outpouring of support from people across the U.S. and West Texas, including the Lubbock Police Department, which provided security during his first 24 hours at University Medical Center in Lubbock.
“I think it is a big blessing (I don’t remember). I really do,” said Gass, as he gripped wife Jessica’s hand. “I remember the help that they got me. I remember the paramedics that were there and I remember how fast and how swiftly they acted. … That was just another thing that proved to me that the hand of God was truly there.”
Unable to talk when he was first admitted to the hospital, Gass said he spent much of his time just sitting and thinking. “It’s amazing what you learn about yourself and what you learn about other people and the caring nature of people,” he said. “Just because one person did one thing doesn’t change my thought on what people are in general; 99.9 percent of all people are still good, I believe that.”
Jessica Gass said she admires her husband’s strength through multiple surgeries and jaw reconstruction; not just physically, but also emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
“He could have been so much angrier than he is, and he definitely has a right to be angry, but he always points it right back to God. … I’m very thankful that he’s still here; I just admire his — he’s the strongest person. He’s my hero,” she said. “A shotgun to the face, I don’t know — not many people stick around to talk about it, so yeah, I’m just kind of speechless about that.”
Gass knows his recovery will be long. But in order to be a role model for his children, he is determined to recover — to join his brothers in blue and to serve the community he loves.
“I’ve got a couple more surgeries that I’m gonna have to go through to fix everything that’s going on,” he said. “I’ve been in Pampa for eight years; I’ve been in law enforcement for 16 years. It’s in my blood. It’s a little bit scary to think about it, but I’ve never been one to let fear run my life and I’m going to get back in that patrol car and we’re going to get back to taking care of business the way we need to.”
Residents in Pampa supported causes for Gass throughout his recovery. Every night since the standoff, many porch light bulbs were changed to a blue color.
If you would like to donate for Sgt. Gass and his family to attend the game May 16th, at the Law Enforcement Appreciation Night, please let me know.
Tim Varner – Lubbock, Texas
It’s been a year since a certain idiot tried to take me from my family, both blood and blue.
I thank God for leading Collin Sherley and Chad Wurm and all my other blue family to me safely and at the perfect time for His plan. They had the courage to run towards the gunfire, the strength and knowledge to help and save me in my great time of need. I will spend the day with my blood although not a minute goes by that I don’t think of the blue. Thank you to All First Responders and be safe.
Timothy Varner was shot near a Salvation Army family services shelter on October 12, 2013. Officer Varner was responding to a call placed at 7:45 PM.
When officers arrived, Jeremy Moor was in a truck holding another man at gunpoint. Officer Varner asked Moor to exit the car, and when Moor did that, he fired at Officer Varner, and Officer Varner returned fire. Moor was taken into custody. Varner was shot in the arm and in the shoulder.
Moor was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and attempted capital murder, according to a LPD news release.
“I am pleased that I am able to assist fellow officers and their families because of my involvement in POAF. I wanted to be in an organization such as POAF because of my first hand knowledge of the needs and struggles that officers have when they are critically injured on duty. In 2012 I was shot in the head during a critical incident call. I realized the importance of having support from others during this difficult time for myself and my family. POAF provides various types of support such as financial assistance while an officer is recovering and emotional support, just to name a couple. With the community’s continued support of POAF, we can further make a positive impact on officers’ lives during the turmoil they may be experiencing while facing a challenging recovery.”
~Bryan Graham (Arlington PD)
“Organizations such as POAF are paramount in the recovery process, not only physically, but emotionally. I was ambushed on December 29, 1975 by a parolee with a 12 gauge shotgun. I was only 20 years old. The physical and emotional scars will last a lifetime. I thank organizations like Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation who want to assist victims and their families. I wish this type of help had been available to me back in ’75, not only with the financial and physical effects, but with the emotional trauma.”
~Tommy Duncan (Retired Chief of Police)
“When I was shot in the line of duty, there was a great outpouring of prayers and sympathy for me (it was appreciated), but so many more others than just myself were affected. My wife, my children, my sister, and friends were all affected and their lives were changed forever. These people felt helpless and unsure and some felt alone.
The trauma is no different than a soldier on a battlefield.
To have an organization like POAF to assist those affected is a God send. Sometimes those folks affected have a hard time doing just the simple, everyday things we all take for granted because of the trauma…they need you…we all need you to guide us through those times. Thank you and God Bless.”
~John Bell (Fort Worth PD)
Being injured in the line of duty is a scary, daunting situation. The unknown of what is or what may happen outside of the medical issues is very real when you are hurt and can’t work to support yourself or your family. I know. I spent 4 months in the hospital after being hit by a car while on duty. I had peer support but also having someone that can help, even in small ways, would have been life changing, just as much as my accident changed my life. Please help Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation assist other injured officers and let them know we all care about them during their greatest time of need.”
~Detective S. Hayes (Coppell Police Department)