In the second part of the Messenger’s 10-Part Q&A with Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, the sheriff talks about burdens he faces as a sheriff as one of the conversation topics. In that part of the interview, concern about deputy shootings is discussed.

In light of the recent deputy shooting during a domestic incident in Rossville so soon after the sheriff’s interview, we chose to run only that pertinent part of the conversation with the sheriff this week.

We will print the remainder of the second interview with him next week.

Sheriff Wilson, what is one concerning burden that you have for the sheriff’s office?

One of the things that I think about, not a lot, but with the death of deputy Dixon in Hall County in Gainesville last month, I think about it more now is an officer’s death in the line of duty.

That would have to be — absolutely have to be — the worst day of any organization’s life, I think.

I saw Sheriff Couch at our summer training conference two weeks ago and he was just fresh off of his deputy being killed in the line of duty two weeks prior to that.

I saw the pain in his face as he talked to us about it. And yesterday online (Thur., Aug. 8), I saw where some deputies took his fourth grade son to the first day of school. It was about 10 of them volunteered to escort his son to school.

Touching.

I’m just thinking: “That young boy, he will never forget these events. There he doesn’t have his daddy to walk him to school anymore, but the next best thing I guess is these men — deputies who worked with his daddy, who stepped up and escorted him to school.

I think back on that and — line of duty deaths — and I just pray, I really do, that I never have to face that.

It worries me, but I don’t know that you can call it...a “burden.”

I hope other people will remember people who work in emergency services — police, fire, rescue, etc. — in their daily prayers. That they will get to come home safe every day.

Yes, I agree.

A moment of silence fills the air as the heavy topic hangs in the air.

On Monday, following this interview late last week — and before this could go to press — two of the sheriff’s deputies at Walker County were dispatched to a domestic violence scene in Rossville, where one was shot by the suspect after a short conversation ensued.

Sheriff, this feels like deja vu. We were just talking about your burden about this type of thing happening in Walker County with your men, and then it does — sort-of, since your deputy survived the shooting, unlike the deputy in Hall County, who lost his life.

What went through your mind the minute you were told this had happened?

Oh. Yeah. I know. I was very worried as I left my house for the hospital. I knew he had been shot in the leg, but halfway to the hospital I get a call from the 911 telling me there had been two shots to the chest and one to the leg.

I started immediately remembering the Hall County deputy shot-to-death in the line of duty that we talked about last week in your interview of me. I’m stressing about how I am going to tell his wife, tell his family what has happened.

That shooting was on a Sunday night, too.

Both on a Sunday night, oh my goodness.

But, thankfully, because of the sirens going on my drive to the hospital and the phone ringing off the hook, I had to hear the 911 operator wrong. They had to be telling me about the suspect taking two bullets to the chest instead of my deputy, who suffered the shot to the leg.

So many emotions were going through me. I kept thinking about how much I feared something like this happening to my men. And, I am so thankful that it turned out to be a leg injury instead of a fatality.

How is Deputy Agredano doing?

He was able to hobble out of the hospital this morning. They didn’t take the bullet out of his leg. They left it in there. I have been told by another man on our team that this has been the procedure for some other similar type instances, so maybe it is a new procedure when nothing has been shattered or damaged, like in this case, since the shin bone was not broken and no artery was hit.

In fact, there wasn’t any muscle damage done, according to what I was told.

What a miracle.

Yeah, we think that the bullet, which came from the bad guy’s 40-caliber automatic, had to have ricocheted on something when it was fired, before it hit him, because he was only 30- to 40-feet away and a shot at him without the bullet ricocheting should have definitely broken bone.

But...

We are just so thankful and feeling so blessed that this was no worse than it was and that nothing was broken.

Thank you for taking the time to enlighten the Walker County citizens about this on a more personal level, sheriff.

I know that you were busy with this just happening, and you probably did not get much sleep, so it speaks a lot to your willingness to always be available to update the county via the local media.

You’re welcome.

Next: Part 2 will be continued into next week, since the interview with the sheriff was much more in-depth this week, but we only were able to run a portion of it based upon the unexpected deputy shooting.

Jan Morris is assistant editor for the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.