After Clearcreek Twp. Police Officer Eric Ney said he was grateful for the amazing support local residents, families and businesses are receiving following his injuries, but still wanted to give back and serve the community.
Ney, 55, from Vandalia, said it took until September to remember what happened to him. A month ago he was told he could not return to active police duty. Ney still has part of a bullet fragment stuck in his head.
After an eye exam last Friday, Ney said doctors showed him a scan of his damaged eye. He cannot see clearly with his left eye, and he cannot see blinking lights.
“They said the damage done was too great and the risks outweighed the benefits,” he said. “The bullet fragment fell against the optic nerve. It feels different as the fragment moves further.”
Ney said he received the OK to drive again from his doctors during the day a week ago. He is not allowed to drive at night.
He said he will miss interacting with people in the community during his shifts, which lasted 12 to 16 hours, because the department was understaffed. Working long shifts didn’t bother him, but he said it prevented him from spending more time with his family.
Before joining Clearcreek Twp. Police 14 years ago, Ney worked for a steel mill in Columbus for 15 years. When not in Clearcreek Twp. patrolled, Ney worked on his days off as a resource officer at Warren County Alternative School.
Sergeant Nicole Cordero and Ney responded to a domestic violence complaint on July 12 at 5945 N. State Route 48 in Clearcreek Twp. They were attempting to arrest Mark Evers at the residence for domestic violence when Evers pulled out a pistol and shot Ney in the face.
This resulted in Ney’s immediate incapacity and serious injuries, rendering him helpless at the scene. Fearing for her life and Ney’s life, Cordero immediately shot Evers with her pistol. During the exchange of gunfire, it was discovered that Evers also suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and died at the scene.
Ney said the ordeal, which included multiple hospitalizations, surgeries and rehab stints, allowed him to draw closer to his family, especially his adult children, and to God by nurturing his deep Christian faith.
“They said I wouldn’t make it after I got to the hospital, but I want to be there to help the community and spread the ‘good word,'” he said. “Before this happened, I wasn’t close to my kids every day. After this happened, it’s amazing how much closer our family has become. I have seen my children more times since the incident than I have in the past five years.”
For now, Ney said he’s praying for God’s guidance as he figures out what to do with his life after prosecution.
“I have much more important things to do,” Ney said. “God had a reason for me to survive. He has plans for me and I will let him guide me.”
His wife Lisa said after her husband was first discharged from the hospital she thought they were firmly on the road to recovery. That changed when blood clots formed and air entered the brain.
“That set him back,” she said. “That was the worst. I started living my life day by day because I realized that’s all you have.”
Lisa Ney said while her husband was in the hospital undergoing various surgeries she really couldn’t talk to anyone and the doctors and surgeons were unsure what was going to happen next. Because of the massive blood clots, Eric was confused.
“Thank God for my children,” she said. “They kept me company. As I prayed for his recovery, Eric never complained. He’s a fighter and I knew we would get through things.”
Before the shooting, she said she had a false sense of security about her husband’s safety at work. No officer had ever been shot dead on duty or involved in a shooting in Clearcreek Twp. and she never thought anything would happen as Eric Ney oversaw the quiet community.
Since her husband’s shooting in July, she has become more sensitive to other shootings of officers.
“It’s a nice community, but it was a huge shock to me… As an officer’s wife, I felt like everything will be fine. I look forward to the future.”
Lisa Ney said she was surprised by the overwhelming support and love the community has shown her husband.
“I am thankful for our salvation. We have a close relationship and walk with God,” she said. “I am grateful that we will be together and serve God. We want to give something back to the community. I can’t believe the outpouring we received.”
She said her husband was changed after he was rescued a few years ago.
“Family is the most important thing and that’s made them even more important,” she said. “He knows how important this is.
She said: “There are more good, loving, caring people who want to help others than bad people. I never thought that so many people would be so kind. So I want to give something back.”
Lisa Ney said: “God gave me a sense of peace no matter how long it would take… I’m so blessed for him (Eric) and my kids. I pray that 2023 will be a beautiful year.”
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