Wounded TPD sergeant returns to duty with bullet lodged in brain

Published: May. 17, 2017 at 5:05 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 12:13 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - In a video posted to the Just Be You Project Facebook page, Tucson Police Sgt. Robert Carpenter talked about recently returning to work with a bullet lodged in his brain.

In November 2012, Carpenter was responding to a burglary alarm when he was shot in the head by a suspect.

"I had that feeling...that someone was inside."

Tucson Police Sgt. Robert Carpenter. (Source: Tucson Police Department)

He recalled "I had that feeling, as every street cop does, that someone was inside."

It was the second alarm from that building in the same night. Officers searched the place, but couldn't find anyone.

As Carpenter, 46, was leaving the scene, 29-year-old Ricky Mendoza shot him in the back of the head.

Doctors at Banner UMC saved Carpenter's life, but he faced a long and difficult recovery.

Doctors removed part of his skull to give his injured brain room to swell. Eventually he managed to return to work for light duty, but Carpenter wasn't done.

"After months of therapy, countless doctor visits, and support of friends and family, I came back to light duty," Carpenter said. "More months passed. I convinced them that I could return to full duty."

In February 2014, Mendoza was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the shooting.

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