A West Texas deputy shot in the line of duty is now back on the job in Pecos. It's been almost two months since Reeves County Deputy Jerry Millan was shot serving a misdemeanor warrant. Deputy Millan just returned to work this week. In a NewsWest 9 exclusive, the deputy is sharing his story of survival.
"He's one of the best," Reeves County Sheriff, Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez, said. "He works on his days off, he volunteers a lot, he's not 8-5 - he'll stay over, if he has to investigate, he'll follow through."
He's who Sheriff Gomez calls one of his most trusted and valuable deputies. This week is Jerry Millan's first week back on patrol after surviving the unthinkable.
"He shot me four times," Reeves County Deputy Jerry Millan, said. "The only one I felt was the one that hit me in the back - only one of them penetrated my body."
A neighbor called 911 sending in a host of officers and medical teams. Down, but not out, Deputy Millan walked right into the ambulance. That's where they discovered the blood stains on his vest. A bullet had pierced his back and lung, and he was airlifted to Medical Center Hospital where he underwent treatment. A scary waiting game for his wife and two young daughters as well as Sheriff Gomez, who happened to be out of town at the time and traveled back 900 miles to be with Deputy Millan and his family.
"I was at the West Texas Sheriff's Conference and I had barely been sitting there 20 minutes when they called and told me one of the officers got shot," Sheriff Gomez said. "Of course I got nervous about him so we packed and we left."
Right now, they're still waiting on autopsy results, but the sheriff's office says the gunman, Michael Douglas Hickey, turned the gun on himself after hitting Millan with four bullets.
"He had a warrant and he needed to go with me," Deputy Millan said. "He told me he didn't think so, that's when he pulled out the gun and started shooting at me."
Now Jerry Millan is back on the job and ready to move forward.
"I'm going to continue doing what I always do: wear my vest," he said. "I always wore it. It will always be on every time once I leave the door."
But moving forward means a few changes for the deputies: from now on, they're required to work in pairs when they serve warrants.
"I guess in a small town, we get very relaxed," Sheriff Gomez said. "We know the guy and he won't give us any trouble, but you never know. Now we're not going to take any chances. It's not worth it saving an officer's life."
"It's in the back of your head all the time," Millan said. "I really don't think about it. I just do what I have to do and take it step by step."
NewsWest 9 asked Deputy Millan if he's nervous serving warrants and his answer was immediate: "It's great," Deputy Millan said. "I was ready to come back a long time ago. It's been great coming back. I enjoy what I do."
Deputy Millan tells NewsWest 9, he's grateful for the community support that poured in from all across the Basin. And as he starts out on patrol once more, this officer says he's just grateful to be here.