ST. LOUIS – Officer Arlando Bailey knew his job would be unpredictable and even dangerous at times. But he was never prepared for what would happen on Aug. 29, 2020.
“It’s definitely been tough. One of the toughest things I’ve had to experience in my life,” Bailey said.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer was called out to a standoff in south St. Louis.
He was 30, and had just graduated from the police academy a few months earlier. On that fateful day, Bailey and fellow officer Tamarris Bohannon, 29, were shot by a gunman who had forced his way into a Tower Grove South home.
Bailey still carries the pain from the bullet that went through his leg. He recently returned to work and attends rehab three times a week. But he says the emotional wounds of losing Officer “Bo” Bohannon are even greater.
“Passing Bo at the station, he was always very friendly. Always willing to help. Just someone you could talk to,” he said. “It’s something that is always going to stick with me.”
Bohannon was shot long before Bailey arrived on the scene. But the anguish surrounding the events weigh on him.
“I do think about it. You try not to, as much as possible, but it is definitely,” he said. “It’s something that always is going to stick with me. [I] think about if I could have done things differently. Just trying to replay the situation back.”
Police officers and other first responders like Bailey can be especially prone to stress and trauma.
“What they experienced is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s very normal, for what just happened,” Rebound 911 President April Cayce said.
Rebound 911 is a St. Louis-based non-profit that provides a variety of first responder support, including education, peer and family assistance, and chaplain services.
“Sometimes it’s just having a comrade who truly understands what they’re going. How they’re feeling. And just being able to express to them,” Cayce said.
Bailey is a father and is engaged to be married. He has returned to work full time as he works through the issues surrounding August 29.
“This is what I was meant to do. And so, I wanted to get back to it,” he said.
Rebound 911 recently held a t-shirt fundraiser to support Bailey’s family. The organization continues to accept donations.