FORT WORTH, Texas - A Fort Worth police officer who was shot in the line of duty nearly two years ago is back on the job.
Officer Xavier Serrano was shot five times in September of 2016 while responding to a call about a suicidal man. One bullet hit his ballistic vest and others it his left arm, hand and upper body.
A field training officer who was with him, Officer Ray Azucena, was also injured. He had just bruises where his vest stopped a bullet.
After five days in the hospital, several surgeries and a long stretch of physical therapy, Officer Serrano is now back out patrolling the streets of Fort Worth. For the first time, he talked to reporters about the experience and how he’s feeling.
"I didn't want that to be my last patrol call. That's for sure," he said. “I remember seeing my shirt tear open."
When Serrano and Azucena arrived at the house on Wharton Drive in 2016, a woman told police her husband was shot in the head inside and his 55-year-old son, Martin Fleece, was in a shed in the backyard.
With other officers on the scene, Serrano and Azucena moved toward the shed.
"I remember a gold-colored handgun coming out behind something, and started taking rounds," Serrano recalled. “I remember the flash from his gun every time he pulled the trigger."
Serrano and other officers returned fire. Fleece was later found in the shed dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.
"I've replayed it over and over hundreds of times,” Serrano said. “I wouldn't change a thing."
Azucena was also wounded and out of the hospital the next day.
Serrano was greeted by a crowd of supporters when he was released about a week later. After four surgeries and intense physical therapy, he says his family keeps him strong.
“I’m blessed to be here. I’m blessed for the opportunities I’ve been given. I’m blessed for the way my department has taken care of me,” he said. “Everyone from the chief on down to the people I work side by side with… I’ve gotten support from every angle.”
The officer said he never had doubts about returning to the job he loves. He actually returned to the department to do non-uniformed office work about nine months ago.
“You go to work. Yea, sometimes you get hurt. Things happen. You heal. You go back,” he said.
He said he is feeling 100 percent recovered physically and mentally.
Officer Serrano says he's been back at the department for nine months working off the streets, but that goal has always been to get back on patrol.