Wounded Arlington officer thanks God, other officers for being alive

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Arlington police Detective Charles Lodatto clutched his wife’s hand while thanking God for giving him more time on Earth.

On his other side sat FBI Special Agent Andy Farrell, who helped save his life, Lodatto said.

For the first time since he was released from the hospital last week, Lodatto spoke to reporters Tuesday about being shot while helping to arrest a capital murder suspect in Saginaw and about his recovery.

Lodatto still has a bullet lodged in his hip.

“I have a little hitch in my giddy-up,” Lodatto joked, “but the pain has been remarkably low.”

Lodatto, an Arlington police officer for 21 years, is assigned to the Safe Street FBI Task Force where he has worked with Farrell for about eight years, he said.

After the body of 6-year-old Alanna Gallagher was found July 1, bound and in a garbage bag under a tarp less than a mile from her Saginaw home, the task force was one of several law enforcement agencies assigned to look for her killer.

On July 23, Lodatto and Farrell were on a team that went to arrest Tyler Lane Holder, 17, on a warrant accusing him of raping and killing Alanna, his neighbor. They stood at the front door of Holder’s house in the 600 block of Babbling Brook Drive as Holder opened it.

Holder pulled a handgun. As Farrell “bear hugged” Holder, the partners recalled, the gun fired, hitting Lodatto in the femoral artery.

Saginaw Police Detective Robert Richardson fired back, shooting Holder in the head before tearing off his shirt and applying pressure to Lodatto’s wound.

“There was a large amount of blood around Charles,” Farrell said. “I was kneeling in a pool of Charles’ blood. I helped with the direct pressure and tried to engage with Charles in that warrior mindset.”

Lodatto recalls blood “shooting out” of his pants and how Farrell pulled off Lodatto’s belt to use as a tourniquet.

On the ambulance ride, Lodatto said, he realized he had a platform to share his Christian faith, which he did with the firefighter and paramedics in the ambulance, something he said he’d do even with Holder.

“There are things going on with Tyler Holder that I don’t think anybody can explain,” Lodatto said. “He’s obviously a troubled youth that needs to be saved, and I hope through this incident he can find peace.

“He’s a sinner just like me. God saved me, and he can save Tyler Holder.”

‘I just yelled at the kids’

When Chauntel Lodatto received the call that her husband was en route to the hospital, she didn’t believe it at first.

When it sank in, “I just yelled at the kids and told them to get their shoes on. We had to get to the hospital,” Lodatto’s wife of 14 years recalled.

Chauntel Lodatto said she didn’t know an Arlington squad car was en route to pick them up. She got on U.S. 287 and while stuck in traffic, told her children that their father was shot in the leg, but he was going to be OK.

Since his release from the hospital July 29, Lodatto said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support he has received from the Arlington Police Department, his church, family and the community.

He said he doesn’t know if he’ll need more surgery and has received paperwork that indicates he might be able to return to work in September.

“I want people to know that I’m still Charles Lodatto, an outdoorsman that has fun and cuts up,” he said. “This event will not define me, and I’m looking forward to what God wants me to do with this life changing event.”

Chauntel Lodatto said she never used to worry that her husband of 14 years might not return home safely. She just knew he would.

“I’m sure at some point I’ll get back to feeling that peace again,” she said.

People have asked, ‘Are you going to let him return [to police work]?’ If you know Charles Lodatto, there is no question he will return.”

Investigators declined to give additional information about the status of the investigation or the condition of Holder, who remains in John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792

Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST

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