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2 Denver Police officers share story of survival and future of protective gear

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DENVER —Critically injured in a dramatic shootout,  two Denver Police officers that were shot one month ago are sharing their story of survival, recovery and gratitude.

“Jan. 27th we responded to call of shots fired,” Officer Steve Gameroz said. “He engaged me in gunfire, at that point, I was struck multiple times. I went to survival mode and got myself out of there.”

The rookie officer was struck with rifle rounds in the abdomen and both legs. “Everyone did an amazing job that day. Without them, I wouldn't be here.” Gameroz said.

12-year veteran Richard Jaramillo was shot in the abdomen while responding to the same incident.  “Sometimes police have the attitude have the attitude this can’t happen to me. I won’t go out there and get shot today. For me that just completely became a reality completely and suddenly,” Jaramillo said.

Both officers are making remarkable recoveries. They say the support of the community is helping.

“When I got shot, it was raining police. When I said I was down, there were police there within seconds," Jaramillo said.

They recently joined dozens of other officers from around the metro area receiving donated gear from Shield616. It will protect them from the very type of weapon they have already come face to face with.

“For someone that took this round first hand in the abdomen, to know someone could take the same round in the future and this vest will block that is phenomenal. I am so grateful and so humbled that someone chose me for this vest. God forbid should the situation ever arise in the future, I can’t wait to put this vest on and have an even better chance of walking away from this, Jaramillo said.

“It makes me proud of my job and ensures me that the community we are out helping every day appreciates us. It's a blessing," Gameroz said.

Both officers state it is a learning experience and they want to pass their knowledge onto others.

“For me, it’s more about saying ok you know you survived this insane ordeal but how can we make it safer for the future, not just for me, but maybe an officer on another call," Jaramillo said.

Jaramillo and Gameroz can't wait to get back to work. They now have an extra layer of protection and a little more peace of mind.

“Who’s to say as soon as I get my uniform back on the first call I get is a man with a rifle in a house. It’s a very strong possibility. But now I know I am better prepared both mentally, physically and now equipment wise because of the kind donations. If this vest prevents someone from getting as injured as I was, to give them more time, more help to arrive, that is a blessing," Jaramillo said.

To date, Shield616 has provided gear to 2,500 officers around Colorado. They say there are still 9,000 officers who need this type of equipment. For more information: https://www.shield616.org/

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