SWAT Officer Describes Being Shot in the Head

Governor to recognize Arlington police officer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Arlington SWAT officer Bryan Graham was shot in the head three months ago. On Friday he will receive the governor's Star of Texas award for his injury in the line of duty. (Published Thursday, Sep 13, 2012)

    An Arlington SWAT officer who was shot in the head in June will receive on Friday the Governor's Star of Texas award, which is presented to officers who are killed or severely injured in the line of duty.

    Officer Bryan Graham said June 5 began as a normal day.

    "It was a normal day, as much of a normal day as we have," said Graham, a 12-year veteran of the police force.

    He was the first SWAT officer through the door of an Arlington apartment to serve a warrant. He was greeted with bullet.

    "It entered in right above my eyebrow and exited right behind my ear," Graham said. "I remember just about everything. I knew I was hit. Obviously, it was in the head. There was a lot of blood, so I was just thinking, you know, 'What -- am I missing an ear? Do I have a hole somewhere? What is it?'"

    Sgt. Brook Rollins, who was a part of the operation, said it was "absolutely horrible" when he realized Graham had been shot.

    "It's a powerless position because you want to help, but you can't until the operation is concluded," he said.

    Graham's fellow officers helped him by pulling him out of the apartment and dressing the wound. But despite taking a gunshot to the head, Graham said he had it easy.

    "I knew I was OK, but everyone else was getting the phone calls -- family, friends, especially [my wife] Lauren," he said. "She knew what had happened, but she didn't know how well I was doing."

    Graham said all his wife knew in the first hour of hearing about the shooting that he had taken a bullet to the head.

    "For you to get information that your loved one --- it's anybody's worst nightmare," Lauren Graham said.

    They said they hesitated to tell their two young children about it but eventually decided to tell them the truth.

    "My daughter saw me with my arm bandaged up from the IVs and a bandage on the side [of my head], and she saw it right away and was a little worried," Bryan Graham said. "She started tearing up and getting upset.

    "My boy on the other hand -- he's about to be 5 years old -- he just thought it was pretty cool," Graham joked.

    A lacerated ear canal was the worst of Graham's injuries. If the bullet had gone a few centimeters in a different direction, it could have caused a much different outcome.

    Graham said he was pretty lucky, though he's quick to point out that: "I'm also a bit unlucky -- I got shot."

    The shooting hasn't kept him from the doing the job he loves.

    "I love what I do," he said. "I want to do it as long as I can and, thankfully, June fifth was not my last operation."

    After taking only 20 days off from work, Graham returned to the SWAT team, which he is now on full duty.