Some of wounded officer Jacob Grant’s colleagues and former cops believe that Grant has been forgotten by APD and by the public
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
Albuquerque Police Detective Jacob Grant is remarkably upbeat, strong and free of bitterness considering the horrific damage that was done to his body at the hands and gun of a fellow police officer.
The eight to nine .45-caliber hollow-point rounds that slammed into his body on Jan. 9 worked as designed: They flattened and expanded so as to bludgeon, rip and explode his organs, bones, muscles and nerves.
The damage those bullets did can cause one to tremble. Grant lost his spleen and gallbladder. Significant portions of his colon, pancreas and lungs have been removed. Two ends of his liver were shot off. There were four bullet holes in his stomach and diaphragm. Nerves in his left arm were severed, and his left hand is just about useless. One of his hands was broken.
Today, Grant can see his intestines through a thin layer of skin because his abdominal wall and the muscles in it were shot away. Doctors grafted skin from his leg onto his abdomen as a temporary measure to hold his intestines inside his body while he awaits surgeries that will try to rebuild his abdominal wall. Before the skin graft, he could see his liver.
He can’t lift more than five pounds and probably never will be able to pick up his children again. The 37-year-old Grant says he’s strong and free of bitterness because he has no choice but to be that way.
“If I allow myself to go down that road to pity and bitterness, it’s going to have a major impact on my family, and they need me to remain strong and handle this,” Grant said of his wife, Laura, and two children, a 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy.
“Friends say, ‘Oh, you are so strong.’ That’s flattering, but it’s not like I had a choice. My choice was either you handle it or you die. It’s not the choice to be stronger than anyone else; it’s just that I’m in this situation.”
Grant doesn’t want to die, although he almost did in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that day after he was shot by his APD supervisor, Lt. Greg Brachle, during an undercover drug bust. He was about to welcome death as a way of escaping the pain his shattered body was suffering.
“The situation definitely makes you more aware of death. I was right there,” Grant explained in an interview about his situation. “I felt myself slipping at one point in the ambulance, it hurt so bad.”
At one point, Grant told himself that the pain would be over because he would soon be dead. But then his reason for living flashed in his mind. “Right when I was slipping, an obscure picture of my children popped into my head. The kids were looking at me and smiling, and at that point the thought of being dead was silly,” Grant said.
He decided to live and was awake the entire ride to the hospital. He lost 80 percent of his blood and was awake when he suffered temporary blindness because of a loss of blood pressure. Then things went quiet. He was unconscious for a week and a half at the University of New Mexico Hospital while doctors, nurses and others assigned to his care worked frantically to save his life. His hospital stay was three months.
Now, Grant, a veteran who served as an infantry platoon leader with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2005, is coping with the present, which, along with his physical damage, involves severe financial hardship, as well as uncertainty about what the future holds. Grant is still an APD cop but he’s on workers’ compensation, which means he’s getting 60-70 percent of his salary. His wife will have to quit her job to care for him, especially in January when he undergoes further surgeries to rebuild his abdominal wall. He wants to be a full-time cop again but knows that that is likely impossible.
“We’re cutting back on expenses, and we have gotten some people who have donated money [to GoFundMe and Wells Fargo] accounts. We have known that this has been coming, and we have been budgeting and saving as much as we could,” he said. “We’re cutting back on day care and a vehicle. We’re planners.” So far, the GoFundMe account has raised $18,770 from 220 donors.
Some of Grant’s colleagues and former cops believe that Grant has been forgotten by APD and by the public. But Grant doesn’t see it that way. He said he’s never been a very public guy and that he doesn’t want pity.
“I don’t like a lot of drama. I don’t want to be a guy with his hand out looking for money. I’m not going to complain, and I’m not going to throw a pity party,” he said.
The ordeal has taught Grant many things, but one sticks in his mind. “Your life is not just about you,” he says. “You have to think about how things are going to affect everyone else.”
Dennis Domrzalski is an associate editor at ABQ Free Press. Reach him
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