K9 Officer Shot in Face Gives God Credit for Survival
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“I remember seeing the muzzle flash,” Sean Houle said about the fateful night he was shot in the face. “I felt like I got punched by the Hulk. I could see all the blood and I closed my eyes preparing to open them up in heaven.”
A K-9 officer with 10 years of experience, Sean knew well the dangers that came with the job. But nothing could have prepared him for what would happen on the night of February 21, 2021. At about 3 a.m., Sean approached a criminal in his car who had evaded arrest just a few hours before.
“I tell him, 'Lemme see your hands, you're under arrest,'” Sean said. “All of a sudden he dives from the driver's seat over to the passenger side area of the car. When I grabbed onto his arm, I got sucked into the car. It was a fight immediately.”
The two spilled out of the car onto the pavement. As Sean struggled to subdue the criminal with one hand, he was trying to holster his gun with the other. “But it would not go in,” Sean said. “I didn't feel like at that time that I was at the level of deadly force yet. I didn't feel like I had risen to the level yet of being able to take his life.”
Sean managed to call for backup in the middle of the fight, but they were still several blocks away. On any other occasion, he would be able to press a button on his vest to release his K-9, Jax, from his cruiser, but the button was malfunctioning – then he lost his gun.
“The gun pops out of my hand,” Sean said. “We make eye contact, and he dives. I see his hand hit the gun and it lines up perfect with my face. I knew that I'd been hit in the face and I knew that it was bad enough that I had bone and blood coming out. Now, I was a saved Christian. I was mentally preparing myself to leave this side of life and be at heaven’s gates. But something happened though. When I closed my eyes I saw my wife and my two kids, and I saw them as real as anything I'm looking at right now in front of me. I literally felt like I could reach out and I could touch them. It was like when I saw that this desire to fight just came over me. The only way I know how to describe it is it was supernatural.”
Sean opened his eyes to see the man with his gun aimed at his head. He jumped up, swinging out his arm at the moment it fired, shooting his hand.
“I had just fallen back to the ground,” Sean said. “I get on the radio for the final time and that's when I say, ‘Help, I'm dying.’ I remember I could see on the street flashing blue and red lights coming down the road, so I knew they were showing up. I knew my help was finally there.”
With his jaw shattered and the carotid artery on his right side severed, Sean was bleeding to death. Miraculously, an ambulance was nearby and got him to the ER without a moment to spare. He stayed conscious the whole way until he was put under for surgery.
“The Lord put each and every piece of this puzzle together,” Sean said. “He put every person, every piece of equipment, everything exactly where it needed to be to allow me to live that night.”
Sean suffered a stroke and required seventy-two units of blood. After hours in surgery, while his loved ones prayed, he finally stabilized. He would go on to have a dozen operations to reconstruct his jaw and left hand after losing a finger, but he recovered quickly, to which he gives all the credit to God.
“He worked through those doctors and surgeons hands,” Sean said. “No doubt I should be dead from a medical standpoint, but God had other plans.”
The shooter was apprehended shortly after fleeing the scene and it was discovered that he had dropped a gun of his own during the fight. He was sentenced to between 34 to 43 years in prison.
“The Lord settled into my heart, ‘Do not be angry and do not hate,’ Sean said. “I've forgiven him for what he did to me. My hope and prayer for him is that he will come to know Christ at some point in his life before it's too late, before he passes on and that chance is gone.”
Sean is back to enjoying life with his family. Both he and his K9, Jax, retired from the force and he has gone on to work with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team as a chaplain coordinator. He now shares his story of survival at public speaking events, looking to inspire others and encourage them to put their faith in Jesus Christ.
“This was to be used to bring Him honor and glory,” Sean said with a smile. “I'm getting to do things inside of this life that if I had not been shot, I would never be able to. Speak about God and speak about faith and speak about what He did for me and what He can do for others. It feels incredible to be able to wake up every day and take a breath, to walk around with minimal deficiencies, to be able to continue to make memories with my kids, with my wife, and to worship God and thank Him for what he did for me.”
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