DENVER - Denver Police Sgt. Tony Lopez Jr. said, "Everyday is a blessing to put the badge back on" as he reflects on the two year journey since he was shot and nearly killed during a traffic stop. He said, "As time goes on, your body recovers, your mind recovers, you move on and it’s a regular day."
A "regular day" for Lopez Jr. includes a trip to the gym, where he does CrossFit workouts.
He credits his physical health with helping to save his life when he took multiple bullets on December 8th, 2015.
He said, "It was super key, that’s what kept me alive, my heart was still pumping and it was strong."
And wanting to get back into the gym motivated him during his recovery. "I’m real competitive so I didn’t like the thought of someone running from me and I couldn’t catch them or things like that. One day I took nine steps and they said 'that is great'. I said 'you have no idea what I used to be able to do, this is not great'. At the same time, you’re still grateful and have the opportunity to get back to where you were. The way I looked at it, it was important to be in shape to help other people and to be able to help brothers and sisters in blue or citizens, in case something happens to them. I didn’t think, 'Oh I better get in good shape I might get shot.'"
Lopez Jr. loves spending time with his wife and young son.
Both of them helped him survive as well. Lopez said, "for me it was my wife and her being pregnant and wanting to be there for her through that and then be there for the baby and happened to work out."
He says his son shares his adventurous spirit. "The other night my wife and I were sitting on the couch and looked over in the kitchen, he was standing on top of the island. how did you get up there? Keep you on your toes.. good thing I’m running again.. he’s crazy!"
Another important part of Lopez's life now is promoting the use and training of tourniquets. He credits them with helping to save his life.
"I’m glad Corporal Felkins was there with a tourniquet and he took it upon himself to carry it and familiarize himself with it, because at the time it wasn’t standard at the department. Now it’s standard at the department and across the country, which is really cool to see because if it wasn’t for something as simple and cheap as a tourniquet, I wouldn’t be here, so I stress the important of that."
Lopez said the thought of leaving police work never crossed his mind.
He worked extremely hard to get back on the job, and did so nine months after being shot.
"Just growing up and hearing all the stories from my dad seeing the comradery and family surrounding the profession. Playing sports and stuff growing up, I was always part of the team. This is the best team to be a part of. I’m grateful for all of them. Everyone when I got knocked down helped me get back up."