WATERLOO, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) -- A gunshot fired on a darkened street shattered his jawbone, it could've taken his life but it didn't shatter his faith in humanity.
That was part of what Waterloo Deputy Marshal Stephen Brady told Indiana’s NewsCenter, in an exclusive interview about his recovery from a bullet wound in the line of duty.
Officer Brady says he is making progress towards beginning to feel like himself again, but there’s still a long way to go.
He won't talk about the shooting details, as he will be a witness in an upcoming criminal trial, but he did speak about the lingering effects of the gunshot that changed his life forever.
Officer Stephen Brady says, "One of the doctors described to my wife, the damage I suffered, saying basically it was like someone dropping a glass and how a glass shatters is, in effect what type of bone structure damage I have."
Brady also has hearing loss in his left ear and fuzzy vision in his left eye.
He's undergone multiple surgeries to repair the damage.
His jaw remains wired shut and he has lost 20 pounds, because he now gets all of his nutrition through a feeding tube in his stomach.
3 a.m. December 15th, responding to a citizen's concerns, Brady encountered Ralph Hardiek and Julie Marie King at Center and Railroad Streets in Waterloo.
It was there a bullet from a .44 caliber handgun pierced his left cheek, shattered his left eye socket and pulverized his mouth and jawbone before exiting below his right ear.
He says at first he didn't feel the full effects of the pain.
Brady says, "It wasn't until basically the paramedics were there and preparing me for transport that I would say the adrenaline wore off and the pain set in."
At his side through the mending process is Brady's wife, who is also an officer on the Waterloo force.
Cards wishing Brady a speedy recovery are displayed in the home, what they like to call the "wall of inspiration".
"Friends, people we didn't even know, people in the community’” says Jan Brady, Officer Brady’s wife. “Everybody pulled together and gave us the strength that we needed to get through this."
Neither Brady nor his wife has worked since the frightening ordeal in December.
Given the pain and suffering he endured, Brady says it's possible he won't recover sufficiently to return to police work.
Officer Brady says, "I'm optimistic I will recover that much. If I can recover to that point I have every intention of returning to the job. That's what I've always wanted to do."
We've reported that Ralph Hardiek died later that same day in a standoff with police, and Julie King was seriously wounded.
Brady said he believes those two posed a serious danger to the public, and that knowing they no longer pose that threat, is a comfort to him.
He says he has full recollection of the shooting, and expects to be a great help to prosecutors in the Julie King trial.
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