My name is Russell Hodges and this is the story about the man who tried to kill me.

I started my service with Greenbrier County West Virginia with law enforcement and as an animal control officer in 2009. I worked nights and weekends, sometimes seven days a week. I really enjoyed my job and was told I was good at it.

But on September 30, 2011… everything changed.

“I don’t care who you are. I’m going to kill you.”

Russell Hodges was brutally attacked by a man without any provocation. (Photo courtesy of Russell Hodges)

 

I was on duty all of that day while working a day job at a local dealership as the service manager. The day shift officer, Officer McClung, called in sick, so dispatch put me on duty to handle public service calls until my shift started, and then I would go into the field and handle the calls from there. I was in my own vehicle, but I was commissioned to use my vehicle if the need arose. I had to go home to pick up my ACO vehicle and the rest of my equipment. On the way home I came across a dog in the road. It was causing traffic problems.

I called it in to dispatch and advised them of my location and situation. I then began to work the dog away from the road. He traveled about a half-mile going from yard to yard until he stopped in front of a house, still in the road. I stopped the vehicle, parked out of the way and got out, putting on my badge and ID. I called to the dog and he began coming toward me when a man standing in the driveway about 50 yards from me called out. He asked me if I had a problem. I replied, ‘No, I’m with animal control and I’m trying to get this dog out of the road.’ 

He stood there for a minute and I watched him to see if was going to approach me. He turned and walked toward the house. I turned my attention back to the dog; I almost had him close enough to help him out of the road when I was suddenly attacked from behind.

The man had jumped on my back. I cried out, identifying myself again as a member of law enforcement.

Then he spoke words I’ll never forget.

“I don’t care who you are. I’m going to kill you.”

My head hit the truck and the blow knocked me out. When I came to, he was holding me in a headlock and smashing the right side of my head over and over, saying, “I’m going to kill you over” again and again.

I tried to get up and he knocked me out again. This happened a total of three times. When I came around the last time he had me in a choke hold. I was beginning to fade. I reached for anything I could use to protect myself. I got ahold of my backup knife and cut him three times. My attempt to free myself only made him laugh.

“Really, you’re poking me?” he said, almost amused by the stab wounds.

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I realized I was in a fight for my life. My next strike was at his groin. I dug the knife into his leg. I hit his femoral artery twice. Finally… he began to get weak and eventually let go.

I was on my hands and knees trying to catch my breath when he struck again, kicking me in the ribs.

“Really, you’re poking me?” he said, almost amused by the stab wounds.

“I’m going back into my house to get my gun and then I’m going to kill you,” he said as he staggered toward his home.

He was bleeding badly but continued walking inside.

(Courtesy of Russell Hodges)

 

It took all my strength to get myself into my vehicle and leave. I immediately called dispatch and told them what was happening and to send an ambulance to my house. I only lived 3 miles from where the attack took place.

I couldn’t see out of my right eye or hear out of my right ear. I knew I had a broken jaw and maybe some busted ribs. Within minutes the first responders were at my house along with half of the county sheriff’s deputies and two State Police officers.

As they were checking me out, they got a call from the man’s girlfriend saying that he had been attacked and was bleeding out. He had passed out on the steps to his front porch right after I drove away.

Years later, Hodges is still feeling the lasting effects of the traumatic encounter. (Photo courtesy of Russell Hodges)

 

They couldn’t get another ambulance for at least 45 minutes… so they asked if I would let them use mine and wait for the next one.

I said yes.

He went into surgery right away and I was taken to a room for observation and testing. Her survived. He was formally charged with a felony a few months later for felony attack on a government representative. The lawyers let him plea down to a misdemeanor.

He served three out of six months of home confinement. He asked to be let off early and it was granted.

Since then he goes about his life as usual, sometimes even bragging about what he did to me. Meanwhile, I’m not able to ever work again. 

I have seizures, PTSD, a 24/7 headache, agoraphobia, flashbacks, nightmares, I’m unable to socialize and I suffer from a traumatic brain injury that has caused short term memory loss and a lot of psychological issues. I don’t know were I’ll be in ten years but now my quality of life is poor at best.

I don’t tell my story often but it is as real and fresh as it just happened.

Written by Russell Hodges, LEO – ACO Disabled

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