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‘I’m overwhelmed, thank you’: Police officer shot at 45 times receives cards, gifts, letters from local students

<i>WBBM</i><br/>Police officer shot at 45 times receives cards
Police officer shot at 45 times receives cards

By Chris Tye

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    GARY, Indiana (WBBM) — Sgt. William Fazekas is the the Gary police officer shot at 45 times last month after a traffic stop.

A makeshift tourniquet from a co-worker saved his life.

On Wednesday, as Sgt. Fazekas continues to heal, some of Gary’s youngest had the chance to meet the newly-minted local hero and bridge the often growing divide between police and the community they serve.

CBS 2’s Chris Tye was there.

A gloomy Gary day was brightened. At, of all places, the police department.

“Thank you. I don’t know what to say. I’m overwhelmed. Thank you.”

Hugs from Gary teachers. Cards, hundreds of them, from Gary students. There were letters, pictures, messages of love and support. A hallmark for a hero given a proclamation for his actions 50-days ago.

On Feb. 7, Gary police Sergeant William Fezekas responded to a vehicle accident.

A gunman, using two weapons, fired at Sgt. William Fazekas 45 times as he lay across his cruiser’s front seat to stay alive.

He was struck once. Gushing blood, he got up, faced fire, shot back, spooking the shooter who ran away to a vacant home — ending the outburst in a community.

A community many of these young people call home, who, on that day, had their streets closed and helicopters overhead.

Today, they had questions, including if he was scared when he got shot.

“Actually, I wasn’t. It’s called adrenaline. I was still in a fight for my life. I had to do something,” Fezekas said. “I couldn’t just stay there and say ‘I quit.’ I hope they leave with: police officers are human just like they are.”

Adding humanity to how young people view police in Gary. It may just be the most lasting byproduct of that incident 50 days ago.

“We are not against you. We are here to help you. That’s what I hope they leave with today. Did it connect? Oh, it connected,” Fezekas said.

The suspected shooter, who was found in abandoned house not long after the shooting is charged with attempted murder. He was released on bond last month and has a trial set for November.

Fazekas is doing quite well in his recovery. He’s in physical therapy three days a week expected to make a full recovery.

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