Shot DPS officer feared he would die

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Officer Seth Meeske By Mike Gertzman Officer Seth Meeske By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PAYSON, Ariz. -- The Arizona Department of Public Safety officer who was shot during a traffic stop on Sept. 21 is now talking publicly about the ordeal.

"I was able to look down and see that I had obviously taken a round in the arm," said 14 year DPS veteran Seth Meeske.

Meeske was shot during a traffic stop on the Beeline Highway just south of Payson.

"As with any traffic stop I walked up to the vehicle tapped on the window to basically ask the subject to roll the window down," said Meeske.

That’s when the shooting began.

"The very first shot shattered the glass on the passenger window. The window never rolled down. The glass immediately went into my eyes and face, cut my eye." explained Meeske.

One shot went through Meeske’s forearm, another shot hit Meeske in the left leg and the third shot hit the back of Meeske’s vest.

"I kind of did some quick calculations and I figured if I remained there and waited for medical personnel to arrive that I’d bleed out," Meeske said about why he drove himself to the Payson Medical Center.

That decision may have saved his life.

Meanwhile, Officer Robert Durango, who was on his first patrol, pursued the man who shot Meeske.

"I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get backup or not. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be the only pursuit vehicle at this time," said Durango.

But he was soon joined by officers from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office in what turned out to be a 40-mile chase.

“That was the most reassuring feeling I ever had, know that’s there’s somebody right behind me for whatever happens, whatever this outcome is going to be,” said Durango.

That outcome, while still under investigation, appears to be the suicide of the man who for some reason shot that DPS officer.

"I know that I was critically injured. I didn’t know if I was going to survive it. I took a moment, said a prayer," said an emotional Meeske.

Officers Meeske and Durango said that incident will not keep them off the job. They both plan to continue their DPS careers.

DPS officer shot during traffic stop, suspect identified