Ithaca police officer Anthony Augustine is still recovering, two months after being shot in the line of duty. Our Tamara Lindstrom sat down for an exclusive interview with officer Augustine, to talk about the night he was shot and the weeks that have followed. In part two of her interview, Augustine talks about his recovery, and how he ended up in harm's way.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The journey that led Anthony Augustine to run into the woods late on an October night started with a fateful decision.
"I was an electrician for 15 years. And for some strange reason I always wanted to be a cop. I took the test. I was 35, so it was the cutoff for age," Augustine said. "So it was a decision yes, you're going to do it or no you're not. And I didn't want to be that guy that looked back and said well, I probably should have tried it."
And he did. For five years, Augustine has served as an Ithaca Police officer. While chasing a suspected car thief on October 11th, Augustine took a bullet to the chest, a shot that could have been fatal.
"Everybody was in the right place at the right time," Augustine said. "One of the paramedics from Bangs ambulance had just returned from a training, and he actually wasn't on shift and wasn't working. I thanked him personally. I said 'thanks for saving my life.'"
Despite damage to his vision and left arm after a stroke, Augustine has had much to be thankful for.
"My wife has been fantastic, a ton of support from her. She does most everything for me because I have a hard time reading, especially when I first got out. So she reads all the cards for me. She's been super, my parents have been great," Augustine said. "My son took it extremely hard, and I think it's difficult for him knowing that I can't do everything that I used to do the way I used to be able to do it. But hopefully time will change it. I tell him all the time, just give it some time."
Time is something Augustine has on his hands, as he works toward his goal of returning to the job. He spends most of his days at the gym or in physical therapy.
"I've always been physically fit," Augustine said. "And I know that there was a point that the cardiologist said if I wasn't as fit, that I most likely would have bled out. I know a lot of people took that to heart and are working out now. I think even though it's a negative thing, there are a lot of positive things to come out of it."
His advice is to not take life for granted.
"People are just extremely fortunate and I think people take things for granted. It's certainly something that makes you sit back and think about what you had. It's different."
But despite the new challenges he'll face, Augustine says he's never regretted his decision to join the force.
"You just do the best you can do. And I don't think I would have done anything different."