Recovering from a bullet wound at Lee Memorial Hospital on Saturday, Cape Coral police Officer David Wagoner apologized to interim Chief Jay Murphy for getting shot.
“There’s no reason to apologize, because you survived this,’” Murphy told Wagoner.
“He’s just that type of guy,” Murphy said. “He’s that good of a person. He’s a very sincere person.”
A former timber worker who switched careers mid-life to become a police officer, Wagoner, 43, was hired by the department in July 2007.
Before that, he “would go out and choose what trees to cut,” Murphy said.
Married with three children, Wagoner is described by neighbors as a friendly family man who always said “hello” and could often be seen playing with his kids on the front lawn.
One of his children, a young boy who plays baseball, had a game Saturday and was escorted by another officer while Wagoner recuperated.
“The son told the family that dad would want me to play baseball, so he went to go play in honor of his dad, because he’s OK,” Murphy said.
The family declined comment Saturday.
Neighbor Victoria Peterson was relieved to hear Wagoner was expected to pull through.
“Thank God,” Peterson said. “God is good.”
She said she feels safe knowing Wagoner lives across the street.
“I’m glad he made it,” she said. “I’m sure gonna miss him in this neighborhood till he comes back.”
Murphy said Wagoner was in “excellent” spirits Saturday after his surgery, although jokes were off-limits.
“He’s sore, it hurts to laugh,” he said.
“We were trying not to make any jokes to cause him to laugh.”
Murphy said it was unbelievable how collected Wagoner was during his ordeal, able to return fire and call in the details of the crime to other officers after being shot three times at point-blank range.
“Fortunately, we’re able to stand here today and celebrate the fact he survived it,” he said.
“We look forward to working with him and his family, getting him back on his feet and getting him back to work.”