ST. LOUIS — Roll call was anything but routine Tuesday afternoon at the St. Louis Police Department’s North Patrol. Officers Colin Ledbetter, 26, and Nathan Spiess, 28, were back with their colleagues.
“It feels like things are falling back into place. It feels like some sort of normal,” Spiess said.
Spiess and Ledbetter were critically shot during their pursuit of a homicide suspect in north St. Louis County on January 26. Dashcam footage and radio traffic paint the picture of the dramatic scene from that afternoon.
“Need cars here – secure our cars! All cars. Officers in need of aid. Northwood Estates,” can be heard over the airwaves.
And moments later: “I’m shot! I’m shot!”
Spiess was shot once in the leg. Ledbetter was shot twice – in the groin and in the foot. The impact was so severe that Ledbetter went into cardiac arrest for several minutes.
“I was clinically dead for a certain amount of time. And I came back. Doctors and EMS personnel made it happen,” he said.
Ledbetter spent several weeks in the hospital, followed by inpatient rehabilitation therapy, and later outpatient rehab several days a week.
He now does therapy only three days a week, noting that his recovery has been swift and in some ways, miraculous. Both Ledbetter and Spiess can walk without any need for assistance. Neither one is in pain or in serious discomfort.
Looking back at that fateful day, Spiess said the past three months have been intense. For Ledbetter, the events of January 26 aren’t clear – at least for now.
“I remember nothing. I guess kind of like a fog, these last three months,” Ledbetter said.
Spiess recently returned to light duty. Ledbetter said he hopes to return to District 6 soon.
“I want to come back, I want to be with the people I was with before everything happened. They’re my family,” Ledbetter said.
He expressed gratitude toward the medical staff and first responders who came to his aid that day. He added that he is grateful for the support of his squad.
“All the police officers that are still going out there and doing it – especially after my incident,” he said. “I can only imagine what they were feeling answering radio assignments after that.”