Officer McCormick returns to the scene of shooting his 1st day back to work
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Sioux City Police officer Kevin McCormick put his life on the line last month, as a traffic stop nearly turned deadly on the city's west side.
On his first day back to work, he wanted to head right back to place he was shot.
We tagged along as officer McCormick retraced the moments that could have changed his life forever.
"Let's do this."
Officer Kevin McCormick waited nearly two weeks to get back in a patrol car.
Back in blue, the stitches gone, he was anxious to return. He knew where he had to head first.
"What I'm trying to do here is determine just how much I can remember," said McCormick as he drove back to the west side of town, back to where the shooting happened.
The incident started just eight minutes into his shift. The rookie cop came under fire when he pulled over a car for a seatbelt violation. In that car, say police, was 21-year-old Jamal Dean, a local gang member.
"So, then we get up here, around this corner. This is where I activated my lights," McCormick said about a block away from Everett school.
"This is about where I made this stop," he added, slowing down his patrol car.
"Originally, I couldn't remember what was blocking my vision, it was Plaza Latina. I thought it was a house. My memory tells me it was a house," he realized as he pulled up to the grocery store.
McCormick has not seen the dash cam video yet. So, he's been replaying the shooting in his mind a lot in the last two weeks.
"Here's my chain link fence. I remember this chain link fence. I remember this van and I think that those garbage cans were in that exact same spot, because I remember a dumpster," he said, painting the scene.
The part he remembers the most clearly, "I crack my door... something along these lines. This guy jumps out. I'm thinking foot pursuit. No foot pursuit. He turns to me with a gun."
There were eight shots fire into the patrol car. He believes the third or fourth went through the windshield and struck his forehead.
"Definitely, you feel a little bit out of sorts. I do have a little bit of heightened sensitivity, just recognizing as I'm looking at people right now, as I'm looking at cars. That guy could have a gun right now, and I don't know that, and if I initiate a traffic stop I could have the same darn thing that happened to me two weeks ago," said McCormick, sitting in his patrol car in the exact spot the shooting occurred.
However, he's quick to point out the shooting hasn't really changed him.
"I really do not foresee a whole lot of difference," said McCormick.
Saying goodbye to his wife Jessica and 10-month old daughter Wrenn when he returned to work Sunday, wasn't easy.
"I keep telling her I'm not going to die, I'm not going to die. Deep down inside she knows that I'm coming home at the end of the day," McCormick explained.
Two weeks ago this street was blocked off, cars were being searched, federal agents carried semi-automatic weapons. Officer McCormick wants people who live here to know that their neighborhood is safe.
"I did what any one of us would have done, and what we do every day, and it just goes unnoticed because we're not getting shot at," said McCormick, who fellow officers say, doesn't like to be called a hero.
Jamal Dean is behind bars, charged with attempted murder.
"I like the fact that he was brought back to Sioux City. I like that fact that he's in Woodbury County jail," McCormick admitted.
However, McCormick's not waiting for his trial to feel closure.
"I feel like it's already closed for me. I mean, I'm ready to move on," he added.
Ready to return to duty and face the danger and the rewards that come with being a police officer
Officer McCormick took one of the force's new patrol cars Sunday. He said, the car that was involved in the shooting is already back in use.