Police Officer Del Pearson talks about getting shot

May 3, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Officer Pearson was chasing a suspect on March 19, 2012, when he got into a gun battle on the city's South Side.

"I never felt a thing. I never felt getting shot at all," Officer Pearson said. "I go for my radio and I can't move my left arm. I look at it and it's not moving at all and I'm going 'something's wrong. Then I knew I had been shot."

Out of bullets-- but in luck, Pearson's partner pulled up and immediately realized his friend and had been hit. Pearson was shot in the shoulder, millimeters away from the protection of his bullet proof vest.

Protocol dictates officers wait for an ambulance, but they didn't. They drove to the hospital and, that decision may have meant the difference between life and death for the married father of two.

"I could hear Sgt. Kapa shouting on the radio, 'We have an officer shot in the chest, we're going to Trinity.' I remember thinking "Trinity, that's not a trauma center, I might not be that bad.'" Officer Pearson said. "She's yelling for me to stay awake, not to go out, because I start to see stars and I was like, 'I'm going to go out.' I'm yelling, 'I'm going to pass out.' She's like, 'No, no, no! Stay awake!' We got into that banter and I started thinking if I can just get to the hospital, I'll be fine. They can save anybody.'"

An unbelievable eight days later, Officer Pearson left the hospital. Around his neck that day, he wore the police star Superintendent Garry McCarthy cut through red tape to get for him: Number 6254. It was his dad's star. And now, it's his inspiration.

"It's very important for me to get back on the job and have it be a working policeman's star. That's very important for me. I just don't want it to be an honorary thing. . . like I had it briefly and then I have to give it back. I want to retire with it," Officer Pearson said.

Officer Pearson still has months of rehabilitation and recovery ahead of him before he can think about returning to full duty.

Officer Pearson spoke Thursday to promote the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation's "Run To Remember" on Saturday at 8 a.m. The 5k Run/Walk begins at the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park, 1410 S. Museum Campus Drive, which is just east of Chicago's Soldier Field. Find out more at cpdmemorial.org

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