GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - Exactly three weeks after he was shot in the line of duty, Goose Creek police officer Robert Edwards Jr. talked about the experience for the first time Monday.
Edwards was shot allegedly by 33-year-old Codrick Bass on July 19 after responding to a domestic disturbance call at Bass' home on Iris Street in Goose Creek.
"I knew I had been shot," Edwards said. "And I was coherent enough that one of the other officers on the scene had yelled at me to check on me. And I was able to tell him that I had been shot."
Even with shotgun pellets lodged in his face and neck, Officer Edwards says he was determined to stay in the fight with Bass.
"After I was hit the first thought that went through my mind was 'I'm not going out like this,'" Edwards said. "'I'm staying in this fight and I'm not going down like this.' And my second thought was 'I have a wife and kids to take care of, and I'm taking care of them. Nobody else is.'"
Despite extensive injuries, numerous surgeries and pieces of shrapnel remaining inside his body, Edwards says the recovery has not been as terrible as he thought it would be.
"To me it seems easy. To other people it may seem really difficult. But with the support I have from my family... my wife and children, and my law enforcement family, to me it's been a breeze getting back to where I am right now."
"I think the toughest thing I'm dealing with right now is having to have my jaw reconstructed."
Edwards says he has little trouble talking as his jaw heals, but because he can barely open his mouth eating has been a bit of a challenge. And yet he continues to look at the bright side of the situation.
"But I can still smile."
Edwards says the outpouring of public support has been overwhelming.
"From Chief Becker and the police department, the city fire department, local businesses, to people we've never even met."
And even though the job he's loved for decades brought him within inches of his life, Edwards says he has always known the inherent risks of being a police officer and none of this experience will keep him from getting back to serving the people of Goose Creek.
"I will go back on duty without hesitation. As soon as the powers that be say that I'm clear to go, I will be back on the street."
Officer Edwards remains on medical leave from the Goose Creek Police Department while the State Law Enforcement Division continues its investigation of the shooting. Other officers involved in the incident remain on administrative leave as well until SLED releases its report of the shooting.
The suspect, Codrick Bass, was also shot during the exchange of gunfire. After spending a week in the hospital, he was released and now remains behind bars facing 19 different charges, including four counts of attempted murder.
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