A St. Louis police officer who has been shot and seriously wounded twice while on duty is training to compete in next week's annual Guns 'N Hoses event, which pits city first responders against one another in boxing and mixed-martial arts matches.
Thirteen years ago, Officer Lucas Roethlisberger was conducting a traffic stop when he was shot three times, KTVI-TV reports. The carotid artery in his neck was struck by a bullet, and he suffered a stroke.
Following the shooting, Roethlisberger, 39, had to learn to walk and talk again. He was able to fully recover from the incident, and he returned to duty about a year and a half later.
“I remember every day how thankful I am that I’m alive,” he said.
But in February, Roethlisberger was shot again on the job. In this shooting, he was struck in the side.
“He’s a little upset that he’s been shot at, obviously,” said Chief, Robert Tracy after the incident.
After he was medically cleared nine months later, Roethlisberger began training for the city's Guns 'N Hoses event. He has been working out in three-hour sessions—running, working the heavy bag, sparring—to get ready for the Nov. 22 benefit, which raises money for Backstoppers, a support organization for the families of first responders who die in the line of duty.
The organization's mission hits a chord with Roethlisberger, who understands how close his family was to possibly needing its services.
“It is a miracle, my blessings: my children, my family, my great support, my police department that I work for and this organization, Backstoppers. I’m very, very blessed and very thankful that I’m able to do what I do right now,” he said. “I have several police officer friends who have been shot, hurt severely, that cannot do the same things I’m doing. I fight to the end. I never give up.”