LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – It was a close call for Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Wagner. Very close.

An x-ray taken after surgery shows remnants of pellets that remain lodged in his body.
Wagner, 34, was responding to a domestic disturbance on the evening of Aug. 24 when a man opened fire from inside a home.

The suspect had set the home on fire and fled before police found him dead.

Firefighters rushed Wagner to the hospital during the chaotic scene.

Lincoln County Sheriff Richard Harrell has delivered two eulogies while serving that post. He’s grateful Wagner won’t be the third. Still, that doesn’t take away from the emotions that come when an officer is down.

He said unity with the department and the community provides solace during the toughest of times.

“I think that’s our strength. The law enforcement community. The bond of brotherhood that they have. They were leaning on top of each other to hold each other up,” he said.

The news hit close to home for those who know Wagner well.

Deputy Rami Al-Besharat has been friends with Wagner since day one at the police academy. Al-Besharat persuaded Wagner to join him at the Normandy Police Department and, most recently, with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Wagner had been on the force for only about two months.

Al-Besharat rushed to the hospital the night of the shooting, not knowing it was his friend who had been injured. He saw Wagner moments before he went into surgery.

“He said it’s ok. We fist-bumped and he just went in,” Al-Besharat said.

Sheriff Harrell expressed thanks to all of those who have prayed the last few days.

“Everyone who has offered their support. For those first responders that day, thank you so much,” Harrell said.

Those prayers were answered Monday afternoon, when Deputy Wagner was discharged from SLU Hospital. A long procession of Lincoln County Sheriff’s vehicles was lined up to escort the deputy home.

That wasn’t the only good news. Something else happened while Wagner was in the hospital on the night he was shot.

“He proposed to his girlfriend,” Al-Besharat told FOX 2. “It kind of puts things in perspective when something like that happens. It prioritizes (things) for you.”