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One year later: Rookie Phoenix cop who was shot 8 times details road to recovery

“To me, it just feels like a challenge I have to overcome,” Officer Tyler Moldovan said

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Photo/YouTube via ABC 15 News

By Ashley Silver

PHOENIX — One year after being shot several times while searching for a suspect, a 23-year-old Phoenix police officer is detailing his difficult road to recovery.

Officer Tyler Moldovan, a rookie who had recently completed field training, was shot eight times, including in the head, while he was investigating a report of vehicles driving erratically. He was shot when he encountered an armed suspect, 24-year-old Essa Williams. Williams was a parolee with nine prior felony convictions, including armed robbery and aggravated assault, at the time of the shooting. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer for his attack on Moldovan.

KOLD News spoke to Moldovan and his wife, Chelsea, about the incident and how his story continues to defy the odds: “It’s just mind-blowing to see that, a year later, he’s here talking and breathing on his own,” Chelsea said.

After the shooting, Moldovan was placed on life support and was not expected to survive, but his wife refused to give up. “There was this peace that he was not going to be buried. I don’t even know how to explain it, but whenever everyone was talking about funerals ... when they were having people say goodbye to him ... I didn’t.”

Chelsea began to document Moldovan’s progress as he began to improve day-by-day. He had suffered “extensive neurologic injuries,” but within months transitioned from being on a ventilator to once again having the ability to squeeze and move his hands.

Moldovan acknowledged that he still has more work ahead. He attends physical, occupational and speech therapy five days a week on his continued journey to recovery. “To me, it just feels like a challenge I have to overcome,” he said.

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