CLARK COUNTY, IN (WAVE) – “I think if it wasn’t for my training, my experiences as a Marine and my training, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” Indiana State Police Trooper Morgenn Evans said.
It’s been more than a year since Evans was shot in the head during a traffic stop. Back to work patrolling the streets, Evans said he feels lucky to be alive.
Working as a police officer was a lifelong dream for Evans, something he said he’d been working toward since high school. Even after being shot, Evans said he can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I don’t know, just lucky,” Evans said, reflecting on his miraculous recovery from his serious injury.
Evans said he’s grateful to come to work each day, and with good reason. In December 2017, he was shot during a traffic stop. Charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting Evans, Oscar Kays is waiting behind bars for his trial.
When the shooting happened, Evans said his training with the Marines and with ISP just kicked in, and he’s glad it did, as it drove him to keep moving and thinking.
“You’re still alive; that fight is still in you,” Evans said. “And I mean, the threat is still there; you still gotta do your job.”
Officers responded immediately. Some continued to chase after Kays, and arrested him later. Others immediately blocked off routes to get Evans to the hospital from downtown Jeffersonville as quickly as they could.
“It was a humbling experience, seeing everyone come together,” Evans said.
In the ambulance, he was alert, calling his now-wife to tell her he’d been shot. Describing that conversation a year later, Evans laughed thinking about the moment.
“Like hey, ‘You have to get to the hospital, I got hurt at work,’ and she (started) to cry,” Evans said. “I was like, ‘I’m fine,’ and she wanted to know what was happening. I was like, ‘Man, how do I word this?’ Because, I just got shot in the head, it doesn’t sound good.”
Miraculously, he would be fine.
“It was a graze wound but it was, it penetrated and it ricocheted off my head,” Evans said. “I had two exit wounds, two entry wounds and exit wounds as well.”
Just six days later, he was able to return back to work with the Indiana State Police.
When he came back to the job, his co-workers were there for him, all happy to see him back so soon. Evans said a quick return and constant support from other officers who had been injured may have helped him avoid issues or PTSD from the injury.
“Especially with me, I think I had to get back out there,” he said. “I think if I was able to sit at home and think about things and how things went wrong, I’d probably be in that boat and things would be differently. I think that was probably the best thing I had, other than getting back to work, was just being able to talk to other police officers. Because now, when I hear of another shooting involving another trooper or police officer, the first thing I try to do is get their number and ask them how they’re doing. You know, is there anything I can do to help you, see if there’s anything that they need.”
More than a year later, the Harrison County native said he still loves coming into work, patrolling the roads with a passion that’s never gone away. But things have changed.
“I’ve got a little bit of a lump, you know, headache every once in a while,” Evans said. “It’s just different, you know?”
For the former Marine, the desire to protect and serve runs deep.
“I still want to be out there, helping my community,” he said.
Kays' trial was scheduled to have started this week, but was delayed. Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said the delay was the result of a scheduling conflict with another case, but said both sides are now ready for trial.
“I think all of us are eager to get this case tried and as the prosecutor, I’m eager to get a conviction in the case, to have Mr. Kays convicted and sent to prison for the shooting of the trooper,” Mull said.
A new trial date was scheduled for April 16.