Valley Brook Officer Brian Southerland was shot on New Year’s Day while making a traffic stop. After more than a month of recovery, Southerland is limping, but happy to be back on his two feet.
“It’s hard to believe that it happened,” said Southerland.
Looking back on the dashcam video from New Year’s Day, Southerland was making a possible DUI stop. As he approached the suspect’s vehicle, shots were fired.
“Two more shots rang out and on the third shot I remember it felt like a punch in the leg,” said Southerland.
A 27-year-old felon, Cory Hartsell, shot his weapon six times. He was later arrested. Southerland was hit once in an artery on his left thigh. Southerland said it has not been a simple recovery. The surgeries have impacted the lower half of his leg.
“I’ve actually been back out to the scene where that happened. They say that kind of helps,” said Southerland.
On Tuesday, this Valley Brook hero was honored for putting his life on the line. Standing alongside Southerland was Sgt. Johnny Berryman with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Berryman was only one mile away when the call came in of an officer down.
“It was just the right place at the right time,” said Berryman.
When he arrived on scene, there were other people helping Southerland. He saw the amount of blood and quickly grabbed the tourniquet in his car. Using the tourniquet to stop the bleeding was a key part of saving the officer’s life.
Berryman said the two now have a unique bond.
“I never want to do it again, but if it happens, I’ll be right there,” said Berryman.
Even with this terrifying situation, both of them will continue to proudly serve as law officers of the community.
“I can’t wait to get back out there,” Southerland said.
He is eager to get back on duty. Southerland is hoping for a speedy recovery over the next three to six months.