Navajo Nation officer recovering after being shot in the head

It's a follow-up to a story FOX 10 told you about nearly seven months ago, a story of a Navajo Officer patrolling one of the most desolate areas in our state; the reservation in Northern Arizona.

He ran into serious trouble one afternoon, and lived to tell about it.

It is rare and jarring to hear someone describe being shot in the head.

"It was a shotgun blast that came right here, it entered here and just opened up my head," said Joe Gregg.

A devastating wound as pictures of Officer Joe Gregg's head demonstrates.

For nine years the Navajo Nation officer has patrolled the stunningly beautiful and yet sometimes volatile Navajo reservation in Northern Arizona.

After what happened to him on October 11, 2014, in the Navajo reservation town of Kaibeto, many people tell Officer Gregg it is a miracle that he is alive.

"I agree, not too many can say they survived a shotgun blast to the head," he said.

While investigating a domestic violence call, a suspect suddenly pulled a shotgun and fired, wounding the officer. Gregg managed to fire back wounding the suspect who is now under arrest and awaiting trial.

"I got on my radio and told my dispatcher I'd been shot, requesting immediate assistance, 999," said Joe Gregg.

The response from every law enforcement officer was widespread, the response from the community in the following months was equally moving.

Officer Gregg and his wife Jilleen have four children ages 3-16.

Jilleen says it has been an emotional roller coaster since that day with time spent helping her husband heal and making sure her children are okay often take a backseat to her emotions.

"Even to this day I take the road from our house to Flag, I'll cry on the way, because it reminds me of that day when I got that phone call," said Jilleen Gregg.

A phone call that exploded into the family's quiet life in Page, Arizona which is adjacent to the reservation.

Gregg was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, his head injuries were so severe. His hearing and eyesight have been damaged.

"His vision came back; we were so happy his vision came back," said Jilleen.

His hearing returned as well. Right now, bullet fragments remain in his head, and the scars provide a roadmap of just how lucky he was.

"You can see where the bullets grazed his head, right where they grazed it he has not had any hair grow back on that side, and on these sides here, they're just kind of all over," she said.

The family drives four hours to Phoenix for doctor's appointments. Instead of driving back immediately, they try to stay with friends overnight to save money, but sometimes they must use a motel.

Jilleen says they've put 40,000 miles on their vehicle in the last six months coming to Phoenix for the appointments. She says without the 100 Club of Arizona, they would not have made it this far.

"The 100 Club support is the best; they are an awesome group," said Jilleen.

As he slowly recovers, Officer Gregg eagerly looks forward to returning to work.

"I just want to be there for the people to make sure they're okay and give them help," said Joe Gregg.

Jilleen created a account to help with the family finances, as her husband's benefits and pay are cut the longer he is off the job. Family, friends, and strangers have helped raise family finances; others have helped raise her spirits.

"There's a lot of police wives out there who have come together and given me a lot of support," said Jilleen.

On a trip to Phoenix for another doctor's appointment, Jileen with her husband by her side says she feels blessed. Through this all she has felt the communities love and prayers.

"As Native Americans that belong to the Navajo Nations, our life is based on prayers in the morning. When you wake up in the morning, and prayers when you go to sleep, it doesn't matter what religion, or race, your prayers really help, and there's times I know we wouldn't have gotten as far without prayers.

If you would like to help his family out as the officer continues on the road to healing visit:
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