OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. - A South Carolina sheriff said a deputy's survival is nothing short of a miracle after being shot in the head and told by doctors that he wouldn't make it.
Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said 27-year-old Corporal Lucas Watts was shot while conducting a traffic stop, which later turned into a pursuit, on November 16.
Crenshaw said two deputies, including Watts, had pulled over a man, but then he took off and a short chase followed. Everybody then came to a stop and that's when the man pulled out a gun and started firing, hitting Watts.
"He was hit in the head," Crenshaw told FOX Television Stations. "He suffered a gunshot wound to his forehead."
Watts was then transferred to a trauma center in nearby Greenville County.
Crensahw said once he arrived at the scene, he got a call from Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis.
"He tells me that he's talked with some of the [hospital] staff there, and they tell him that Corporal Watts' wound is not survivable and that he's not going to make it," Crenshaw explained.
Crenshaw then received a call from one of his own lieutenants who said that he was needed at the hospital.
Crenshaw said once he arrived, he met with Watts' wife, who had not been told about her husband's grim prognosis.
Sheriff Mike Crenshaw (Credit: Oconee County Sheriff's Office)
Nevertheless, Watts' wife was very adamant about seeing her husband and was equally adamant he was going to be okay, according to Crenshaw.
"I did not share what I had been told by the staff. And they told me that they had not told the wife yet," he continued.
Crenshaw said once the wife went in to see Watts, things took a miraculous turn.
"I didn't personally witness this, but the family shared this with me. They said that when she went in, she touched his chest and his body started to move," Crenshaw said. "He started to move his arms and his legs out. The doctor was in there, and he saw that it was the first movement from the time he had been shot."
Watts was then rushed into surgery, and then his vital signs started to improve. Crenshaw said Watts still has a long road to recovery, but has been steadily improving.
"God's got a plan," he added.
Crenshaw has been sharing the story throughout the community, including churches. He said he believes God wanted him to witness Watts' recovery to help improve his own Christian faith.
"I don't know what the message is, and I don't know who or what God's plan is, but I'm certainly at this point not going to tell God no if asked to share my experience," he said.
Crenshaw said the suspected gunman was arrested and is currently hospitalized after also being shot during the gunfire exchange with the deputies.
Watts, a husband and father, has been part of the force for six years. Crenshaw said he wants people to know how much Watts impacted the community even before the shooting. One person, who was previously arrested by Watts, even donated money towards Watts' medical expenses.
"He's refusing to give up, you know, so he's got the attributes that he needs to be in this profession," Crenshaw added. "That's why he's here. That's why he knew this was his calling."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.