PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Only on CBS3. We are getting a raw look at the difficult recovery for a Philadelphia police officer and his entire family after he was shot on the job.
Officer Arcenio Perez and his partner were both shot last October during a shootout with a suspect who allegedly killed his coworker at Jefferson University Hospital.
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The officers’ bravery helped police catch Stacey Hayes, who is now charged with murder and attempted murder.
This couple is bravely sharing their story, hoping to encourage others who are dealing with the emotional and physical toll healing from gun violence takes on anyone who has lived through it.
“We started hearing the shots,” Officer Arcenio Perez said.
Officer Perez opened up about the night he was shot by a suspect armed with a rifle.
Perez took us back to the early morning of Oct. 4, 2021. He and other officers became involved in a gunfight with Stacey Hayes.
“It came in through the forearm and came out, severed all the nerves and tendons. Basically lost feeling from my elbow down to my hand,” Perez said.
The nine-year veteran of the force was immediately rushed to hospital as his wife Olivia was called.
“I was eight months pregnant and I got that phone call at 1:30 in the morning that my husband was shot,” Olivia said.
Now more than six months later, following multiple surgeries to graft muscles and nerves from his thigh and foot with several more to still go, Perez says the pain is nonstop.
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He’s limited in helping to care for their two sons including 4-month-old baby Alex.
“He can’t hold the baby, he can’t really carry him. All of that falls on me,” Olivia said.
“It’s frustrating as a husband, a father, not being able to contribute,” Officer Perez said.
Olivia also had to quit her job to take her husband to his appointments, including therapy three times a week. And without his overtime, it’s been financially draining.
“So it’s like do I work to pay for day care or do I just stay home? So I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what my future looks like honestly,” Olivia said.
While this couple says they are grateful to be together, the daily reality of recovery is both physically and emotionally daunting.
“I now see how it impacts a family firsthand,” Officer Perez said.
“It definitely takes a village to deal with a situation like this,” Olivia said.
Officer Perez is hoping to regain at best about 70% of his arm strength back, which means he’ll never be able to go back to his job in full again.
His colleagues are hosting a beef and beer event coming up in June and all money raised goes directly to this family to help cover some of their bills.
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