Sergeant Houston Gass: a year after the shooting

Published: Jan. 8, 2016 at 6:08 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 9, 2016 at 12:29 AM CST
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Amarillo, TX - Pampa Police Sergeant Houston Gass may need more jaw surgeries for the trauma he received when a man shot him in the face a year ago.

On January 6, 2015, Gass responded to a domestic disturbance in Pampa. When he went inside the home with other officers, 30-year-old Ryan John Kelley allegedly shot him in the face. Kelley still remains in jail.

"I'm just extraordinarily thankful that I was able to survive that day,"Gass said. "The officers that I had with me in the house that day essentially saved my life."

A year after a trying time in their lives, Gass and his wife Jessica choose to be thankful and will not let fear stand in their way of recovery.

"We're going to look at that fear," he said, holding Jessica's hand, "and we're going to place that fear in the hands of God."

Since the shooting Gass has been on the road to recovery and even received the Star of Texas Award from Governor Greg Abbott in September.

"We had to sit there and listen to families receive that reward for their loved ones posthumous, and that's a hard thing to think about," he said. "You know, whenever you consider that you could actually die doing what you do for a living."

Gass said he has remained courageous over this last year and owes thanks to his father.

"My Dad taught me that if the horse bucks you off, you get back on that horse, man," Gass said, "and you ride it again."

Gass believes the scars on his face signify healing.  "There has been a lot of doctor visits, but more importantly for me, there's been a healing in my heart and psychologically and everything that's allowed me to be able to keep going on a day-to-day basis, and keeps me wanting to go back for more," Gass said.

His three different jaw surgeries have kept him in almost constant pain. "They had to go in and rebreak my jaw," Gass said. "It was horrible, it was absolutely horrible."

However, Gass is powering through the pain so he can return to his 17 year career.

"It's a passion, it's a love," Gass said. "It's something that you're called to and you got to be willing to do what you're called to do."

Until he returns to the line of duty he will use his recovery time to help others.

"We want to make ourselves available to any other injured officers that are out there especially ones that are critically wounded in the line of duty and everything," Gass said. "You know we want to make sure they know that there's hope and there is healing. We want to make sure they know that there is a way to survive and even as hard as it is you can make it."

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Source: KCBD