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Officer deals with impact of deadly force
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
A police officer dedicates their career protecting the public. While many might run from danger, an officer stands and faces it. Sometimes, they are forced to use deadly force. The impact of those actions can be felt long after the shell casing hits the floor.
Officer Matt Morrow remembers the day he had to use deadly force.
"That's the worst day of my life, no question about it," Officer Matt Morrow said. "I barely heard them going off. I remember no muzzle flash," Morrow said.
It's the last thing any law enforcement officer wants to do, shoot and kill a criminal suspect.
Morrow had to use deadly force while patrolling in Washington, D.C. 15 years ago. It started when a man began attacking him.
"Stabbed my gun belt, it got the gun belt and what he was using was a long screwdriver that he had filed to a point," Morrow said.
"Knocked me onto my back. What seemed like an eternity. It's like he turned and was trying to decide whether he was gonna finish me off or not," Morrow said.
Two shots later, the suspect was dead.
Officers train and learn to shoot to live and survive violent encounters.
In 2008, two Beaumont police officers shot and killed a drug suspect after he tried to run them over at a Jack In The Box.
In 2009 at Parkdale Mall, a man approached a crowd with a knife and then turned toward officers. One officer shot and killed the man.
Officer Morrow still lives with the impact of his action long after the last shot.
"It was the worst day of my life. As of today, that was the worst day of my life. Hands down. Would I do it again in the same circumstances? Absolutely. Do I wish it never happened? Absolutely," Morrow said.
He's worked for the Beaumont Police about 13 years. The Beaumont Police Department and his old one in Washington, D.C. offer a support system for officers.
"We want to make sure that the officer survives long after the echoes have faded," Sgt. Rob Flores said. He leads a support group for Beaumont Police.
"It's very emotionally crippling to be involved in an officer involved shooting but the peer support program makes sure that they're able to survive that," Flores said.
"It's life changing for you and your family. It's life changing for that person's family and it's something, frankly, you never get over. I mean I'll never get past that, I'll never get over it completely. You just learn to live with it," Morrow said.
Sgt. Flores said the department teaches Beaumont Police how to prepare for the immediate stress of an officer involved shooting and the stress that can build over time.