Deputy Wounded In Shoot Out ReturnsTo Duty - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/19/04

Deputy Wounded In Shoot Out ReturnsTo Duty

Corporal Darwin McMahan spent his first day back at work learning about his new duties. He will help conduct background checks on potential hires at the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

"It's very, very different. This is the first time I've ever been inside an office. I've always been on the road since 1992," McMahan said.

McMahan can only handle light work until he fully recovers from his gunshot wounds. He was injured December 13th of last year, when he responded to a call at the Crystal Inn, concerning a guest who was late checking out. When McMahan asked for an ID, the man pulled out a gun and started shooting.

"It's really blank, I guess because of the adrenaline. I don't really remember a whole lot about the initial exchange."

One bullet pierced McMahan's right leg. The other went through his stomach.

"First time being shot, and hopefully last time."

McMahan returned fire, hitting and killing the suspect. McMahan knew he had to survive.

"We train to survive, because if you go in and you get shot and you give up, then you probably will die. I mean, I had much better things to do than die. I had five children and I want to see them grow up."

After enduring two surgeries on his bullet wounds and injured shoulder, McMahan must still undergo intense and painful physical therapy. But he is determined to return to patrol duty in a few months.

As for his family, McMahan says the shooting has turned him into a more devoted husband and father.

"Prior to this, I was always working, never really home that much. Now I'm more 'let's stay at home, let's not go out.' My son, he's always ready to go fishing everyday, so it's really different."

McMahan says memories of the shooting still haunt him.

"Up until about three or four weeks ago, the bullet holes were still coming out of the window, because they didn't replace the window. Every time I go by there, my four year old always said, 'Daddy, that's where you got shot at.' But it's coming around."

26-year old James Taylor of Alabama died in the shoot-out. Earlier this year, a Harrison County grand jury cleared McMahan and another sheriff's deputy of the fatal shooting.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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