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Dewey Co. Sheriff Says Training Saved His Life

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He came face-to-face with accused killer Michael Vance and survived a shootout with him. Now, the Dewey County sheriff is speaking out about that terrifying encounter. He came face-to-face with accused killer Michael Vance and survived a shootout with him. Now, the Dewey County sheriff is speaking out about that terrifying encounter.
DEWEY COUNTY, Oklahoma -

He came face-to-face with accused killer Michael Vance and survived a shootout with him.

Now, the Dewey County sheriff is speaking out about that terrifying encounter.

The sheriff has been back to work for a few days but he said this is the second shootout with a suspect that he has survived.

Looking at his shot up Chevrolet Tahoe, it's a miracle that Sheriff Clay Sander survived. It was shot up a total of 27 times. He was shot three times; one bullet fragment grazed his head and two other bullets hit his left arm. 

"The first round went through my shoulder," he said. "I was very aware that that round hit me. I thought things were not looking to good. So, the second round hit me in the elbow and that's when I decided that backing up in my vehicle wasn't the best place to be."

Every bullet hole could have been a fatal shot, but instead of trying to dodge the bullets, the sheriff chose to fight back.

"My AR rifle was sitting in the seat beside me. I grabbed it hoping my arm would still work function which it did and I stepped out of the vehicle and return fire," Sander said.

The sheriff said that's when Michael Vance got back in the truck and took off, and then ended up in the deadly shootout with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol being forced to take his life.

"He put up a true fight and I'm thankful for all the law enforcement community that came together that night to end his evil terror on our state," Sander said.

The sheriff said his training truly did help keep him alive.

"We train to win and I feel Vance that night when he stuck his weapon out his intention was to kill me. In that situation, I won. He wasn't able to kill me and he fled for his life," he said.

Monday afternoon, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb and other dignitaries presented an award to Sander for his bravery and for a job very well done.

Sander said he does not plan on retiring any time soon. He plans to continue to keep his promise to his wife and two small daughters -- to make it home safe after every shift. 

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