Editor Note: This story is graphic and may be difficult for some people to read.  It also contains graphic images.

Houston Gass was shot in the line of duty.  Thankfully, he survived, and he joined us to tell us his story, which can be which can be found here.

The entire reason we launched LET Unity was to give a voice to officers like Houston who have never been able to tell their stories.  It’s a tragic story – but also one filled with hope.  With lessons.  And with a dose of reality that America needs.  

Proceeds from LET Unity memberships go directly back into telling the stories of warriors like Houston.  We hope you’ll consider signing up.  The mainstream media isn’t giving them a platform.  Social media is censoring them.  Help us to help them.

“As soon as I laid my hand on the doorknob the suspect shot through with a homemade 12-gauge shotgun.”

January 6th, 2015 is a day I will never forget. We got called into work early that morning.

We were shorthanded, which wasn’t an odd thing to get called in. So, I called my wife told her:

“Hey I’m not going to see you at lunch, I’m going to be going to work.”

I went to work about 10:45 that morning.  As soon as I got to work that day, the shift patrol sergeant called out for extra units to come to his location because we had a domestic disturbance going on where shots had already been fired.

So, whenever we got over there, we made several attempts trying to contact the guy…we got the girl out.

Thankfully she was OK, but we made several attempts trying to get him. Then, when we decided to make entry into the house, we searched through the house unsuccessfully until we got to the far back southwest bedroom of the residence.

The way that everything was situated, there was a bed against the wall. There was a door and then there was a couch right there, so there just wasn’t a whole lot of room in there.  There was me and the three guys that were in there.  My lieutenant was standing at the back covering our back.

That’s how shorthanded we were. We had lieutenants and sergeants and detectives taking these calls and stuff.

So we made our plan to how we were going to open this door and everything, because the door opened up to the inside.

At this moment, Houston’s life changed.

As soon as I laid my hand on the doorknob, the suspect shot through with a homemade 12-gauge shotgun.

Hit me in the face.

Single handedly, probably the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life at any one given second.

Amazingly though it didn’t knock me out. I stayed awake the entire time that we were in the house.

You know, to the guys that were there with me in the house, I’ll always be grateful for what they did. Dragging me to safety…I got knocked on my butt, I got knocked stupid. But then they dragged me out and my lieutenant laid on top of me.

He laid me on my left side in the living room of the house waiting for the fire department and the ambulance and stuff to get there, and amazingly the fire department was only like a couple of blocks away. They were out testing hydrants that day.

And the ambulance service was down at one of our local restaurants getting some breakfast. So, they were only literally  like six blocks away whenever the call came out that an officer was down.

I tell you; you hear those words and you always think about those other videos and things that you hear, you hear it on TV. You don’t ever think about it being you.

And whenever you hear those words and it’s you that’s the one that’s down, it becomes a completely different story.

It’s very surreal. Literally your life will flash before your eyes.

I mean me and my wife had only been married six months, so we had had our kids.

If there was ever a point in time in my life where I know God was listening to me, it was that day right there.

They took me over to the helicopter pad and they flew me to our local trauma center in Amarillo. And at this point the shooter is still hung up in the house. He stayed barricaded in his house till…four or five o’clock that afternoon. So, I mean it was it was a pretty long standoff with that guy.

Officer Houston Gass

But they got me to the helicopter pad.

The Pampa Fire department, they really put their own personal safety aside. They just ran up not knowing what could potentially happen. They ignored anything that came up and said:

“No, we’ve got to get our brother out.”

I know we give firemen a hard time, cops and stuff man, you know,  stinking ‘hose-draggers’, but you know we love them.

We’re like that. We’re like step-brothers, I guess. We love each other but we’ll beat the heck out of each other as soon as we can.

They really put everything aside. The people that were there, the paramedics and everything…they were spot on.

I remember there was a really deep voice, and I guarantee it was such a deep voice that I could pick this guy out of a crowd without ever seeing his face and he told me everything was going to be all right.

Then my lights went out from there. They went into a life-saving mode…they really saved my life at that point in time.

What was his next memory?

Waking up at the hospital. I’ll tell you what, I guess I was quite a handful. Of course, you know being a cop, we’re a little on the jumpy side anyway.

But whenever they woke me up, I guess I reached up and punched somebody. I was heavily medicated. They ended up tying me back down and I remember that part. And then my wife came in.

Officer Houston Gass

I had a room full of doctors, nurses, friends you know.

I think one of the first things that I remember was seeing my wife. And of course, I figured out that I couldn’t talk because the ‘trach’ that they put in was big enough to support a horse. But for some reason I remember kind of tearing up and I mouthed at her I told her I was sorry, you know, because she shouldn’t have to go through that kind of stuff.

She shouldn’t have to see her husband laying there with his face blasted off nearly.

She looked at me she goes:

“It’s not your fault.”

I knew it wasn’t my fault. But you know, one of the next big things I started asking her was, where our preacher was at. I really wanted our pastor there.

There was something that hit me because whenever I’d been going through a divorce and dealing my dad dying with cancer and everything, this thing really kind of set forth in my life right there.

Officer Houston Gass

And whenever he got there, she’d given me a pen and a piece of paper and I could write, sort of, as good as you can in a drug induced state like that.

I wrote down the verse Exodus 14:14.

Because the chaos that was in the room right then and there…was just horrendous I mean my mom was in there and she had nearly passed out from seeing her baby boy laying there on the cot and the stress was just so high.

But whenever my pastor got there, I asked him to read that to me and everyone else in the room, and what it says is

“The Lord will fight for you. You need only be quiet.”

I mean, instantly the mood in the room changed.

You know, there’s not a whole lot that I actually remember about that day.

I remember getting shot.

I remember waking up.

I remember talking to my wife for a minute and I remember that.

Officer Houston Gass

And then everything else is kind of kind of blurry.

And life since that day?

Well, you know, 18 surgeries…lots of time.

Especially right after I got home, there was lots of times where I spent time just in my bedroom by myself, you know, just crying because I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know why or any of that other good stuff.

And thankfully, you know, I had a lot of good friends that reached out, and a lot of other injured officers from across the country that reached out and said:

“Hey brother, you’re not alone.”

And all of that has turned into a pretty good thing.

How has faith played a part?

Oh man, that was the only thing that got me through. I’m just like any other person. You ask the question why and you ask all those other things. Why did this have to happen to me?

Officer Houston Gass

You know, you get mad. You do all those things. I mean, you even get mad at God a time or two.

But thankfully, I’ve got a great wife that stayed strong during those times whenever I couldn’t. I had great friends that did that for us and everything you know there was a lot of times were what we went through, there was a lot of borrowed faith there to, because in your time of need, God provides those kind of things.

Officer Houston Gass

After all of that, Gass didn’t walk away from it. Not only did he get back in the game, he went all in.

He went on to become the chief of police in a small town, not too far away from where he was shot in Fritsch, Texas. It’s a small community of about 2,500, which grows to about 10,000 on the weekends because of a large lake.  He’s now a police officer in Jacksboro, Texas.

So, you know why I did it? I think part of it was for me, I needed to get back up on the horse. I had to. I’m a second-generation police officer. My dad spent 40 years in this business. I don’t know that I’ve got 40 years in me, but I think I had to do it for my own personal peace and sanity to make sure that I could go back and do it.

Officer Houston Gass

My wife was supportive of whatever I wanted to do.

She was going to be supportive either way, whether I got back in it or if we turned around and walked away, either option at that point would have been OK. I’ve done my time; I’ve proven that I can do the job and everything.

But for me, walking away wasn’t an option. I had to be able to get back and do it.

The man who shot Gass was sentenced in 2016. He received 50 years.  

Man who shot Houston Gass

Man who shot Houston Gass

Houston had an opportunity to sit down face to face with the man who shot him.  You can watch more of his story, the interview with his wife and that encounter in his interview, which can be found here.

Once again, the entire reason we launched LET Unity was to give a voice to officers like Houston who have never been able to tell their stories. 

Officer Houston Gass

Proceeds from LET Unity memberships go directly back into telling the stories of warriors like Houston.  We hope you’ll consider signing up.  The mainstream media isn’t giving them a platform.  Social media is censoring them.  Help us to help them.

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