DENVER -- For the first time, the family of Colorado Springs police Officer Cem Duzel is speaking out after he was seriously wounded in a shooting last year.
Duzel was shot in the head responding to a call of shots fired in August 2018. He and his family are extremely private, but they agreed to share their story because they want to thank the community for all the support they have received over the past year.
“He's a good kid. The day he became a police officer was one of my proudest days. I was so thrilled and happy," said Mumtaz Duzel, Cem's father.
Seven years ago when Cem became a police officer, his father never imagined he would get the call his son was shot in the line of duty.
“It is quite a bit, financially and emotionally. No one expects something like this, no one is prepared to deal with something like this. With the help of everyone around us, we are pulling through. We are going to be OK. As long as he makes out, we will be OK. We'll be happy," Mumtaz said.
It has been touch-and-go for Cem. He just had his last surgery three weeks ago. He has a long way to go, but he's moving in the right direction.
"I think he's going to be OK. He's going to be OK, I hope. He's determined. I mean, most people would've given up after what happened. He's not. He's hanging in there. He’s very strong. I can't do anything but support him and be with him," Mumtaz said.
Cem's physical fitness has played a role in his recovery.
“He was what we call a gym rat. He was in gym every single day, seven days a week, trying to keep in the best shape he can. And now, he has a long day of therapy. And after the day is over, he still goes to the gym at the hospital and does several miles on the bike trying to keep up his physical endurance," Mumtaz said.
The cards, letters and prayers have been uplifting for the Duzels.
“It's been overwhelming," Mumtaz said. "One of the most powerful moments was when a young girl came to visit. She made a little paper flower in a pot. Her parents brought her to the hospital. We were all in tears."
Cem’s family has been at his side the entire time, and that's not easy. Cem's mother has stayed in Colorado. His dad travels back to New York for work and be with their other children.
The MC-1 Foundation is holding a motorcycle run to raise money for Cem and his family. The MC-1 Foundation started in 2014 after Sgt. Dave Baldwin was killed. MC-1 was his call sign on the motor unit for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
“I think people forget how much the law enforcement put on the line day in and day out. So when they are injured and their life is changed, they were just there helping the public. To be able to help them is so amazing. We have found the biker community is extremely supporting and generous, and they really do back law enforcement," said Traci Miller, a volunteer with MC-1.
Cem’s family is honored have the organization's help
"I am truly grateful for such organizations out here do so much for law enforcement. They have done wonderful things. All I can ask is keep us in your prayers. That's all I can ask for. My God, it's helping," Mumtaz said.
The MC-1 motorcycle run is Sunday, Sept. 29.
They also have an online auction with more than 100 items.AlertMe