Philly cop shot in the line of duty gives raw look at his recovery

“It definitely takes a village to deal with a situation like this,” said Officer Perez’s wife

By Suzie Ziegler 

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia police officer Arcenio Perez is giving an honest, unfiltered look at recovery from a gunshot wound. In an interview Wednesday with CBS Philly, Perez and his wife described the emotional, financial and physical challenges of healing from a line-of-duty injury. Now, the couple is sharing their story to help others who may also be struggling with the aftermath of gun violence.  

Perez was shot last October by a suspect who had allegedly killed his coworker at a local hospital. There was an exchange of gunfire and Perez was hit.   

“It came in through the forearm and came out, severed all the nerves and tendons. Basically lost feeling from my elbow down to my hand,” Perez told CBS Philly. Perez was rushed to the hospital as his wife, Olivia, was called. 

“I was eight months pregnant, and I got that phone call at 1:30 in the morning that my husband was shot,” Olivia said. 

Six months later, Perez says the pain is still nonstop. He’s had multiple surgeries to graft muscles and nerves from his thigh to his foot, and there are more surgeries in his future. His injuries make it difficult to care for his two sons. 

“He can’t hold the baby, he can’t really carry him. All of that falls on me,” Olivia said. 

“It’s frustrating as a husband, a father, not being able to contribute,” Perez said. “I now see how it impacts a family firsthand.” 

Olivia had to quit her job to take Perez to his appointments and physical therapy. Without her income or Perez’s overtime pay, it’s been hard. 

“Do I work to pay for day care or do I just stay home? I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what my future looks like honestly,” Olivia said. “It definitely takes a village to deal with a situation like this.”

MORE: 10 ways to help a fellow officer injured in the line of duty

Perez hopes to regain up to 70% of his arm strength, which means he’ll never be able to return to full duty, according to the report. 

The couple says the reality of recovery is daunting, but they’re grateful to be going through it together. Perez’s colleagues are hosting a fundraiser in June to help cover some of his bills, according to the report.

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