Officer, Martins Ferry native, still recovering after suffering gunshot
MARTINS FERRY — Patrick Shrodes isn’t going to let a bullet keep him down, despite what his physicians think he should do.
“My goal is to return to the unit — the doctors had other things to say about it. I’ve been given the same speech in the past, but I have no intention of slowing down,” he said.
It’s been about five months since Shrodes, a Martins Ferry native, was shot during a drug raid while working as a Columbus police officer, but he still has a long recovery ahead of him.
Shrodes, 49, was shot the night of March 15 while trying to serve a search warrant related to drugs at a Columbus apartment building. He was shot in the leg and, according to published reports, returned gunfire after being hit.
He is an officer with the Columbus Police Department’s Narcotics Tactical Investigative Unit. He has worked for the department for 22 years. He is the son of Martins Ferry City Councilman Bruce and Barbara Shrodes of Martins Ferry.
On Tuesday, Shrodes said he still has a lot of healing to do before he can start physical therapy. He is able to walk some, but is still in a lot of pain. The bullet hit his femur, fragmented and directly hit his sciatic nerve.
“It didn’t go all the way through the nerve,” Shrodes said. “It severed a bundle of nerves that controls the leg.”
Still, Shrodes said he considers himself lucky because if the damage had occurred just a few millimeters in either direction, he might not be walking at all. His doctors estimate the internal damage will heal at a rate of an inch per month. That means it will take another a year to 18 months for everything internally to heal up.
And for a man who is used to being on the go, to participating in numerous raids a year, sitting around and waiting for things to heal has been hard to say the least.
“I’m walking, but not very far. I sold my tickets to Jamboree In The Hills because just getting to the gate in a place like that is difficult,” Shrodes said, noting one of his goals is to be able to attend next year.
Shrodes said when people read the headlines about officers getting shot they don’t realize what happens afterwards. Shrodes had to undergo numerous surgeries to have bullet and plastic fragments removed from his leg before getting to come home.
“You don’t get hit in the leg and then go back to daily life, you don’t just go back to work the next week. … I’m used to doing 300 entries per year. … Now I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t work in the yard — I can’t bend and move,” he said.
As if him getting shot wasn’t enough, an even more stressful twist to this story involves Shrodes’ wife, Tammy, who works as a trauma nurse in a Columbus hospital.
She was working the night her husband was injured, and yes, he ended coming through the doors of her emergency room.
“It hit her hard. … She is a hardass … She handled it like a rock star,” Shrodes said, adding his wife’s supervisor immediately told her to stop working and instead hold her husband’s hand.
Shrodes said it is the department protocol to have someone notify the family of an injured officer by going to their home. However, though he tried to tell people that his wife was instead working at the hospital, in the chaos his message did not get through.
Shrodes believes his wife figured out that it was him just before he came through the doors, based on the information dispatched to the hospital.
“People don’t understand how hard it is on a family. It changed our household, everyone having to pitch in,” he added.
Although the road has been difficult to date, Shrodes said he also continues to receive help and support from his fellow officers, some of whom he has never even met. Officers will stop by his house and offer to paint or do other chores.
The man who was arrested for allegedly shooting Shrodes — Shawn Toney, 22 — is being charged with felonious assault on a police officer among other charges. No plea has been made in the case and no trial date has been set. Shrodes said he will accept nothing less than a guilty plea in the case. Toney still is in jail.
“He looked right in my eyes as he fired a second shot. It was not an accident. Inside he was waiting for me to enter. He knew who he was shooting at,” said Shrodes, who was the first officer through the door during the incident.
Shrodes said he had never been shot before, but he has had people shoot at him during past raids. In the past, he injured his shoulder while wrestling a suspect. The injury required surgery, but did not take as long to heal.
“This I can’t push. That’s what drives me crazy,” said Shrodes, a Martins Ferry High School Class of 1986 graduate.
Shrodes noted during the past three years the gun violence related to drugs has increased with the uptick in heroin use in Columbus. He compared the violence to the crack cocaine epidemic during the 1980s.
“When heroin moved in it pushed law enforcement to a whole new level. The addicts are desperate … it pushes crime up in general. With that the dealers are more aggressive,” he noted.
Shrodes hopes the public will remember the officers who are putting their lives on the line to keep people safe, to get drugs off the streets, are people, too, with families and lives and homes.
“It’s a dangerous job that people are willing to do every day even though they know they might get shot or injured,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for anyone doing this job, knowing what they’re facing.”