Deputy Injured in Shootout Says It "Wasn't My Time to Go"

Deputy James Boyd says he is ready to get back to work but has weeks of rehab ahead of him

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Montague County Sheriff's Deputy James Boyd talks about being shot three times at point-blank range by Evan Spencer Ebel during a traffic stop. Ebel, who is suspected in the slaying of Colorado prison's chief Tom Clements, was shot and killed after a chase that ended in a crash in Wise County. (Published Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013)

    The Montague County deputy who was shot by a Colorado man who is suspected in the slaying Colorado's prisons chief says he is lucky to be alive.

    Deputy James Boyd, who was shot shot three times at point-blank range, said it "wasn't my time to go."

    He said gut instinct led him to stop Evan Spencer Ebel in the first place.

    "I really couldn't tell you. I really don't know," he said. "It was just -- there was just something there that, that's why I wanted to stop it. Because, not because of the traffic violation, but because what was beyond the traffic violation."

    Boyd was working a drug interdiction detail on U.S. 380 when he saw Ebel's black Cadillac and decided to stop the car.

    As he approached the driver's side door to look in "all I saw was a gun," he said.

    "At that point and time, I remember seeing the gun shoot off a number of times, and I could see the cartridges fly out," Boyd said.

    He was shot twice in the chest and once in the forehead. The bullet did not penetrate his skull but did cause a severe concussion.

    "I noticed I was bleeding from the face," he said. "'Something is not right here, I need help.'"

    An off-duty officer and his mother, a nurse, stopped to help Boyd. On adrenalin, he had used his radio to call ahead a description of Ebel's car and direction of travel.

    Doctors say that Boyd would not be alive to tell his story had he not been wearing a bulletproof vest.

    Boyd said he was "just lucky."

    "If I wouldn't have done it, there was another officer five, 10 miles up from me who would have probably stopped him as well," he said. "And if he was actually a few inches shorter than me, he most likely would have died. ... I was the perfect height, weight, and all it boiled down to was luck."

    The deputy said he ready to get back to work, but he still has weeks of rehabilitation ahead of him.

    Boyd refused to be wheeled into his interview at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth on Tuesday, saying he didn't want Ebel's family to think he had gotten the best of him and that he wanted to show he's on the mend.

    But Boyd also said he understands that when he returns to his patrol car, the same risks will exist.

    "Every day, you go in not knowing what's going to happen next, but that's just the risk you take," he said. "You don't know if this next traffic stop you do is going to be the last."

    Ebel was killed in a shootout in Wise County after a high-speed chase after shooting Boyd.

    He is suspected of killing Tom Clements, the chief of corrections in Colorado, and a pizza deliveryman in Denver.

    According to documents made public Tuesday, investigators found bomb-making materials in Ebel's car.

    NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.