LYONS, Kan. (KSNW) – Ten weeks ago, shots rang out in small town Kansas leaving the Rice County Sheriff hurt and Undersheriff Chad Murphy fighting for his life.
“All my life, I have taken the small things for granted,” Murphy said. “Now, I don’t.”
Murphy, given what he has gone through, is a changed man.
“I have always been a religious man,” he explains. “I am even more religious now. I know God was with me that day. He had to be.”
Murphy was making a traffic stop on David Madden, who was wanted on a warrant.
“All I said was, ‘Come on, David. You have a warrant. Let’s get this taken care of,’ and that is when he rolled out of the vehicle and took the first shot,” Murphy remembered.
Three more bullets left him lying on the ground, helpless.
“At that time I made peace with God not knowing if he was going to come up and kill me or not — put the fifth round in me or not,” Murphy said.
Sheriff Bryant Evans recounted the fear.
“Seeing Chad at the time, laying on the ground, face down in the dirt, that is no where for someone to die,” Evans said.
Murphy said in the face of death, he was defiant.
“I told myself I was not going to die, he said. “Not alongside that road.”
Responding to the call, Sheriff Evans would also find himself on the other end of Madden’s gun. He was shot in the leg and dragged away from the scene despite his efforts to stay. In his office, hanging on his wall, is the door to his cruiser with a bullet hole in the middle. It serves as a reminder of how close life and death can be.
Undersheriff Murphy said your priorities change when that line gets too close.
“Before it was work,” Murphy said. “Work was priority and then family and then God. No, it is God, family and work now.”
“God is number one, family is number two, and then here comes the job.”
From laying in a hospital bed, to getting back on his feet for weekly therapy sessions, Murphy is working toward suiting back up and putting the badge back on — moving on from what happened that day.
“I have made peace with myself,” Murphy said, “and the way I did that was, I had to forgive David. In order for me to have inner peace that is what I had to do, and I did that early on because I knew if I did not, then I would turn into something that I did not like.”
Murphy says he is working to regain full use of his right arm and is hoping to be able to come back to work in a year.