This is the story of the night a man tried to kill me. My life is changed forever.

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It was May of 2016, the end of my shift.

As I drove to the police department for shift change, a vehicle passed me with no illuminated headlights. I tried to notify the man that his headlights were out. As I caught up to the vehicle to make a stop, he pulled into a driveway. I thought to myself, “no harm, no foul.”

I began rolling down my window to let the driver know that his lights were not working. I had made plans to go to the movies with a friend and I didn’t want to get stuck at work.

As the window opened, I heard a man yell an expletive and my name. As I exited my squad car, my attacker ran toward me. As I put my hand out to stop him, he began striking me in the head over and over. It was not the man I tried to tell about the headlights; it was his brother who had been standing in the driveway, upset that he was stopped and given a warning for no taillights just a few minutes earlier.

I attempted to push him away without success. I tried to radio for help, but my radio channel had been changed in our struggle.

No one heard me.

make entry
Jeremy Scharlow was attacked and left for dead. (Photo courtesy Eric Jackson)

 

He continued to rain down blows, hitting me in the top and back of my head. I pulled my Taser and struck him in the chest.

No effect.

I was finally able to push him back. I immediately began creating distance. That’s when he pulled a pistol from his pocket and shot me in my dominant arm. It felt as though a sledgehammer had stricken me.

My arm, although injured, somehow remained functional. I drew my Glock 23 and returned fire. I later learned I had struck him in the neck and thigh.

I locked my slide back. I took a knee while I reloaded, looking for the man’s location. I saw him get up from the ground a run into the house. I retreated to my squad car, thought better of it, and found cover behind a brick building.

The man exited his residence holding an AK-47. He aimed and fired multiple rounds into the driver’s seat of my squad car.

This event sparked a weeklong manhunt, which ultimately ended with my attacker being killed in a shootout with the FBI.

I was never able to return to work from this incident.

nightmare
Gunshot wound suffered by Officer Jeremy Scharlow. (Courtesy Jeremy Scharlow)

 

I lost my career, my life, and my identity. I was diagnosed with Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Anxiety. The department’s insurance company decided my injuries were not due to a work-related injury and contested the workman’s compensation claim.

They stopped paying.

After one calendar year the department began using my PTO time to keep me on the payroll. Then when my time ran out and I was unable to return to work, I was fired.

Due to my injuries and the pending litigation, I was unable to work anywhere. I had to live on credit cards for the next year while I fought to win a medical pension. In total I was required to see five psychiatrists. The process took almost two years.

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This is the story of the night a man tried to kill me. My life is changed forever.

 

The entire time, my life was on hold, I was dealing with my injuries (both mental and physical), and I was trying to keep my head above water. I was in financial ruin and I nearly took my own life. That event led the State of Illinois to remove my ability to own a firearm.

In late August 2019, I learned the man’s father now plans to kill me as he blames me for his son’s death. This new threat, the constant looking over my shoulder, the constant wonder if I was going to be shot the moment I walked out my front door, the fear of being caught in another gun battle, this time with no gun, all took its toll. I was forced to relocate.

Not Okay
(Jeremy Scharlow)

 

When I look back at the last three years of my life, there is a lot to be angry about. I struggle sometimes with this. I have bouts of anger and I question why? Why did this man attack and shoot me? Unfortunately, I will never be able to ask him that question. This man was in complete control of his destiny. But he chose to attack a police officer, he chose to shoot me, he chose to flee, he chose to shoot at the FBI. At any time, he could have ended this and kept his life, but HE CHOSE otherwise.

To the father of this man who now plans to kill me: I am sorry sir.

I am sorry for the grief a father must feel anytime they lose a son. However, I did not kill him, I did not attack him, I did not flee, I did not shoot at the FBI. I did not cause your son’s death. But even through all of that, I am sorry he is no longer here. I am never happy about the loss of life and your son is no exception.

 

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