By Cleve Bryan
TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) – President Obama will honor two Trenton, New Jersey police officers shot in the line of duty during an ambush last summer.
Familiar halls and faces for Trenton police officer Jim Letts. The Special Victims Detective is back to work this week after being shot in the line of duty last August (See Previous Story).
“The support has been overwhelming,” Detective Letts said.
Officials say Letts and fellow Detective Edgar Rios were taking home a domestic violence victim when the woman’s boyfriend ambushed the officers and started shooting.
“We were just standing on the sidewalk right out front and that’s when everything happened,” Detective Letts said.
The officers returned fire and killed 24-year-old Eric McNeil, but not before both were hit multiple times. Letts suffered gun shot wounds to his shoulder and his side – that one he says miraculously missed vital organs.
“I guess you could say there’s an angel on my shoulder. Twelve years of Catholic school my mom wants me to say that there’s an angel on my shoulder,” he said.
That wasn’t only blessing not feeling like Superman anymore, Letts remembers hundreds of people showing up to the hospital.
“All we hear most the time is how much people hate us, well something like that shows how much people love the police,” he said.
Letts says rehab went well and he encourages Rios who is still in physical therapy. Recently both officers received a pleasant surprise, an invitation to the White House in May to receive the Top Cops Award from the National Association of Police Organizations.
“That’s something huge. It’s a once in a lifetime if once in a lifetime sort of thing to happen so it’s definitely humbling and it’s a huge honor,” he said.
In addition to being honored by the President, Detectives Letts and Rios are being named Officers of the Year by their department and by the Police Athletic League.