by: Richard Thompson Updated:
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Olympia police officer Bryan Houser was on the Thurston County SWAT team that raided a drug dealer's house near Olympia two years ago. The drug dealer inside the home, Christopher Self, shot Houser and could have killed him.
"If I had not been wearing a small piece of bullet-proof material on my arm I would not be standing here today," Houser told the judge at Self's sentencing hearing Thursday in Thurston County Superior Court.
Houser continued his emotional statement saying, "I have been amazed by how one second in time could turn my life upside down and have such a dramatic impact on my relationships with my family and friends."
Houser told the judge he was speaking publicly about being shot so the court would understand that the violent actions of Self had a lasting impact on his life.
"I can honestly say that I have struggled to put the uniform back on, not only because of the realization this could happen again but also the realization of the grief and trauma this event has put on my family,” Houser said.
His fellow officers stood as a show of support for Houser as he finished addressing the court and then Judge James Dixon heard from the man who pulled the trigger.
"I never intended to hurt anyone" Christopher Self told the court.
Self claimed he was sleeping with his girlfriend and did not hear officers shouting "police." Self told the judge he thought a burglar was targeting his home and grabbed a gun for self-defense and he claimed it went off accidentally saying, "I was facing the window and the gun went off in my hand."
Dixon told Self, "What I find instead of remorse from you this morning is an incredible lack of remorse."
The judge then sentenced Self to 18 years in prison.