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Near-death experience gives former officer new outlook on life

Posted February 12

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— During a routine traffic stop on Interstate 95 on Nov. 17, 2010, a driver opened fire, shooting John Taylor—a former Roanoke Rapids police officer—multiple times.

The driver—who was pulled over for following another vehicle too closely—fired five shots, hitting Taylor three times, in the neck, torso and hand; a fourth bullet was stopped by his bulletproof vest.

That one moment could have been Taylor’s last, but thanks to his quick call for help, doctors and a bullet proof vest, he lived. Taylor said he called for help while choking on his own blood.

Taylor, now an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation, still carries a bullet in his body. He now helps other officers from his experience; what he did wrong, and what he did right.

“I kind of squared my body up to the window,” Taylor said. “That’s something we’re taught not to do.”

Taylor said he also didn’t see the driver’s hand, which was holding the gun.

“That’s something they tell us in the academy, to make sure you can see everybody’s hands,” he said. “”I never did.”

Taylor doesn’t remember being shot, but he does recall certain moments of the event.

“I remember being put on the stretcher and being carried by the ambulance to the local hospital, and I remember being taken out of the helicopter to be flown to Greenville,” Taylor said. “I remember my wife arriving; I couldn’t see her at that point because the medication started to take over, but I can remember her telling me that she loved me.”

Taylor decided not to hang up his gun and badge after recovering from his wounds.

“One of the things, I’m not a quitter,” Taylor said. “I especially didn’t want to have to end my career in law enforcement because of the decision someone else made.”

He has recovered from the incident, but it has caused him to look at life and situations differently.

“Life is short, and it’s precious; and you need to make the most of your time,” he said. “I had a near death experience, and I feel like I’ve got an opportunity to go back and look at life with renewed optimism and joy, and love of life.”

Taylor’s current jurisdiction includes Roanoke Rapids. He is currently training to become a bomb technician.

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