SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah Highway Patrol trooper who survived being shot four times during a shootout recounted how he tried to scurry to safety on his back while thinking of how badly he wanted to return home to his wife and four children.
During a news conference Monday, Lt. Paul Kotter revealed for the first time the harrowing details of the Aug. 28 traffic stop near Hill Air Force Base that turned into a crossfire with the driver that nearly killed Kotter and left the suspect dead, the Deseret News reports (http://bit.ly/1XsDEaL).
Kotter, who returned to work this week with a promotion to sergeant, said it started when 21-year-old Drew Moyer drove into an off-limits construction zone where Kotter was providing security. Kotter approached Moyer's car, smelled alcohol and asked Moyer to get out.
That's when Moyer pulled out a gun and pointed it at Kotter.
When Moyer first tried to shoot, the gun didn't fire. That gave Kotter a few seconds to retreat before Moyer was able to fire at him. Kotter said he tripped and fell, breaking his left hand, but was still able to fire at Moyer while on his back as he was pushing himself back with his feet.
Kotter was hit twice in the rear end while trying to get away. He was shot twice in the back in his bullet proof vest as Moyer drove away.
Moyer drove off before smashing into a parked semi-trailer in the same construction zone. Troopers found him dead in his car, and a medical examiner later determined that the man shot and killed himself.
Holding back tears, Kotter said he is still shaken by the incident.
"When this whole thing started unfolding, the first thing that came to my mind was coming home to my family," Kotter said. "I said to myself, 'Nobody is going to take me away from my family,' and I fought for my life."
Moyer had been drinking with friends at a nearby apartment complex prior to the incident, Utah Highway Patrol Col. Danny Fuhr said. Friends told police that Moyer had just lost his job and was suicidal.
Kotter was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant of the DUI squad earlier this month. Fuhr called Kotter's actions heroic.
Kotter said he has replayed the incident in his head several times. He credits the bulletproof vest he nearly left at home that night for saving his life.
"Before I put that thing on, for some reason looking back on it now, my vest was screaming at me, 'Use me, because I'm going to be saving your life tonight,' " Kotter said.
This story has been corrected to show Kotter was shot four times, not three times.
Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com