PHOENIX -- Less than 48 hours after Phoenix police Officer Peter "Chris" Bennett was shot six times in the line of duty, he was walking and talking about what saved him Sunday night.
"I think one of the best things I heard in the academy was if someone shoots you, you’re already dead," Bennett said. "It’s what you do from that point that decides whether you live or not."
Bennett credits his training and mental preparation for how he reacted in the moments after the shooting. The four-year veteran was by himself when he tried to stop a suspect later identified as Brandon McCabe.
Investigators say the suspect tried to run but fell to the ground, then pulled out a gun and opened fire. Three bullets hit the officer’s vest, another went through his hip area and remains lodged in his back, a fifth bullet grazed his arm, and a sixth bullet went through his jaw.
"When I sustained the facial gunshot wound, my first thought was the end," Bennett said. "I truly believed I may have died at that point."
Bennett said he immediately thought of his family, which includes two young children. He managed to radio for help and gave responding officers a detailed suspect description.
".. If this person was willing to do this to me, he was willing to do it to someone else," Bennett said.
Police say the suspect, who was also injured when Bennett returned fire, will eventually face charges of attempted murder of a police officer, as well as a weapons violation.
The suspect, Brandon McCabe, has a criminal history and served time for burglary and trafficking in stolen property. He should not have had a gun in the first place, according to police.
Bennett was not allowed to talk details about the case during Tuesday’s news conference at St. Joseph’s Trauma Center. However, he did share the most important lesson he learned from the traumatic ordeal.
"No matter how hard a situation gets, you can get through it," Bennett said.
The officer still has recovery ahead of him, but says he hopes to return to the force as soon as possible.
"I actually feel pretty amazing, all things considered," he said.
His attitude and healing has left colleagues and hospital staff in awe.
"Someone was watching over him, a higher power, and that’s why he’s with us," said Dr. Raymond Shamos, the trauma surgeon who treated Bennett.
Bennett thanked everyone involved in his treatment, his family, his colleagues and the public for their outpouring of support. However, he urged everyone to extend their prayers to Deputy Ruben Garcia with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, who was shot in the line of duty Monday night.
"I hope all thoughts and prayers can go out to him, his family, all those who love him," Bennett said.