Trenton detective, shot in the line of duty, returns to work

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March 6, 2014 3:14:34 PM PST
Months after recovery, a Trenton police detective has returned to work after he was shot and wounded in the line of duty.

Trenton police detective Jim Letts is back on the job six months after he was ambushed and gunned down along with another detective while handling a domestic violence case.

"I looked at my hand, nothing was there. I'm like maybe I just hurt it when I fell. Then I reached back again and I noticed the blood," said Detective Letts.

Letts took two bullets, one in the shoulder and another in the side that came to rest near his chest.

"I don't understand how I was not more seriously hurt especially with the one that happened here. There's no other way to explain it to me except that somebody was watching over me that day," said Letts.

With the help of physical therapy Letts has recovered from his wounds. Veteran detective Edgar Rios was more seriously injured in the gun battle with the suspect, who was killed.

Rios remained in a medically induced coma for a time. Letts says Rios still needs more surgery but is home and progressing.

"He's doing great, actually. He's up and about, walking around joking around and being his same normal self," said Lett.s

A married father of two with 20 years on the force, Detective Letts is being warmly welcomed back at police headquarters.

He's been named Trenton's 'Officer of the Year,' and he and Detective Rios will be honored at the White House in May.

Not surprisingly Detective Letts says having been shot and going through this experience has changed him. He looks at life a little differently now

"Thanksgiving to me, it always meant great, turkey with the family, until something like this happens and you have a lot more to be thankful for. It makes you rethink what's important to you," said Letts.

Letts was not wearing a protective vest the day of the shooting and says given where he was hit, one would not have stopped the bullets. However he's under strict orders now, from his wife, to start wearing his vest regularly.

"Yeah I'm not to leave without putting it on even if I'm going to 7Eleven," he said.


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