Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

20 years later: Shawnee officer paralyzed in line of duty hopes to get life-changing chair

SHAWNEE, Okla. – Nearly 20 years ago, a suspect shot a Shawnee police officer and left him for dead.

"When I was shot, basically I was dead at that point," said Jeff Rodgers.

He says he doesn't remember much about the traffic stop that changed his life forever.

"Witnesses say that they heard two gunshots and saw the guy take off in his vehicle and didn't see me anymore. So that's when the 911 call came in," he said.

When Rodgers pulled the man over for a simple traffic violation, he didn't know the suspect had just committed a murder and was headed to his girlfriend's house.

"To possibly do some harm to her," Rodgers recalled.

When Rodgers got out of his car, he was shot twice. Fortunately, a witness got on his radio and called for help.

"To this day, no one knows who that voice was," Rodgers said.

On his way to the hospital, paramedics say he flat-lined three times.

When he awoke, his fiancee was the one to break the news to him that he was paralyzed.

"We were always going," Rodgers said. "We would go on long bike rides, go explore, go out in nature and that's just what we did. That's what we loved to do together."

Since then, Jeff Rodgers and his family have been living with the effects of that dark day.

"A lot of times she puts herself on the back burner to take care of me," he said.

Rodgers, who is bound to a wheelchair, says he doesn’t dwell on the shooting, but tries to focus on enjoying life.

However, his injuries have prevented him and his wife, Dawna, from enjoying the great outdoors.

Recently, they’ve found an opportunity to reclaim that lost pastime with a specialized “off-road” wheelchair, which would allow Rodgers to explore the outdoors again.

The only problem is that it comes with a hefty $40,000 price tag.

Thanks to the generosity of others, Rodgers says they are halfway to their fundraising goal.

“It gives us hope,” Dawna said.

“It gives us a lot of hope to get back out there and do things that we used to do,” Jeff said.

If you’d like to help, there are several ways you can do so. You can purchase a t-shirt here. You can also contribute to his GoFundMe.

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