'Thankful to still be alive': N.C. deputy shot during struggle with suspect continues to recover

The deputy was shot in the leg last year after a suspect put a stranglehold around her neck and her weapon went off

By Ashley Silver

CLINTON, N.C. — A North Carolina deputy is still grappling with the devastating impact of a July 2022 shooting that ultimately changed her life.

Sampson County Sheriff’s Deputy Caitlin Emanuel was responding to a report of a stolen vehicle when she was hit by gunfire shortly after making contact with the burglary suspect.

“An individual came up and she approached the individual to start questioning … and he put a [stranglehold] around her neck. Her weapon went off,” Sheriff Jimmy Thornton told WRAL.com last year.

When another deputy arrived after Emanuel called for backup, they discovered she’d been shot in the leg.

According to FOX 8 News, Emanuel has been sharing new details about her recovery journey on Facebook, stating that she will soon face two more surgeries: “Even though challenges will come with these surgeries, we’re praying this is what it will take to get me back to my normal everyday life,” Emanuel wrote.

She also spoke about where she is mentally nearly a year after being shot.

“There are no words to explain what this year has been for me. I was asked recently what I’m most thankful for. While my answer was quickly, ‘to be alive,’ I started to ponder on this,” Emanuel wrote. “I’m not only thankful to still be alive, but I’m also thankful for family, friends, the community who has encouraged and prayed over me.”

The suspect, Michael Walthall Jr., a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania, is facing multiple charges, including assault with a deadly weapon.

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