Moments after being shot five times by a wanted fugitive, Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce struggles to let other police officers know where — and who — he is.
“Blue, I’m blue!” he keeps saying, meaning that he is a police officer, trying to yell it loud enough to reach another officer with a gun drawn on March 15, 2016.
Officer James Minter didn’t realize who he had drawn on, at first.
“When I realized that, and I was pointing my gun at him, I almost dropped my pistol,” Minter says in a new video that provides a first-person look at the shooting — from Pearce’s own perspective.
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The Fort Worth Police Department released the half-hour documentary Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of the shooting that left Pearce gasping for air in a mesquite bush with seven gunshot wounds and a four percent chance of survival.
Pearce has not seen the entire video, and said Wednesday he is in no hurry to watch it.
“I’m just glad to be alive,” Pearce said, as he talked to reporters at an anniversary press event. “I relive it every day.”
Pearce said he has heard some of the audio. “It’s hard,” he said. “My labor in breathing is hard to listen to in that video.”
God was out there that day, he said.
In the video, Pearce says that morning started like any other. He jokingly told another officer he expected a slow day at work.
The video includes new interviews and previously unreleased body and dash cam footage, and police radio traffic, from the beginning of the chase of wanted fugitive Ed R. McIver and his son, Ed McIver Jr.
On March 15, 2016, police spot them in a silver Ford Escape near Interstate 30 and Hulen Street.
Responding officers are warned the suspects are considered armed and dangerous, and have made threats to law enforcement.
Dash-cam video shows the McIvers refusing to pull over for police in a parking lot, instead leading them on a chase into Pearce’s beat area. He joins the chase, as the Escape drives at high speeds, sometimes the wrong way on multiple roads.
After the Escape leaves the interstate and goes across a grassy hill, Pearce takes the next exit and catches up with the suspect vehicle. He is now the lead officer in the chase.
Eventually, the Escape comes to a stop and the suspects jump out, running in different directions into a heavily wooded area. Pearce gives chase, ordering them to stop.
The elder McIver jumps a barbed wire fence that holds up Pearce for a moment because of the police gear he is wearing.
He tries to use a fence post to jump over, but he loses his balance and falls. Before he can get up, Pearce sees McIver standing close by, aiming a gun at him.
He opens fire on Pearce. The officer, in “excruciating” pain, reaches for his gun and fires several times in McIver’s direction.
“I got off about 10 rounds, and the shooting stopped,” Pearce says during an interview in the video.
Pearce tries to call for help on his radio, but it doesn’t work. The shadow of McIver looms over him.
McIver shoots Pearce one more time, this time in the face. He falls face-down into the mesquite bush and decides to play dead.
“That was his kill shot,” Pearce said at the press conference Wednesday. “But I moved my head and he shot me in my face.”
As Pearce says in the video, “I couldn’t breathe hardly, I couldn’t talk.”
As more officers respond, an officer sees McIver, shoots him and kills him. The officers, unaware Pearce has been shot, continue to look for the younger McIver, who is later caught.
Minter sees dark shoes from behind some brush, and thinks they belong to the other suspect, not Pearce. He shouts at him to show him his hands and threatens to kill him before he hears Pearce call out “Blue, I’m blue!”
As Minter calls in that an officer is down, he approaches Pearce and says, “Where you hit, Matt?”
“Everywhere,” Pearce says. “Everywhere.”
Five bullets had ripped through his body, creating seven gunshot wounds. He had a collapsed lung, a punctured diaphragm, a shattered right femur, a broken jaw, damage to his liver and spleen, and a nicked aorta.
He had a four percent chance of survival.
Pearce was rushed to the hospital and into the operating room.
He spent a month in ICU and another month in the hospital before he was released. After seven more months of therapy, he returned to work on limited duty.
Still recovering, Pearce said he hopes to return to full duty soon.
“I’m still angry at what happened to me,” he said Wednesday. “I’m alive, and he is not, so that keeps me calm.”
This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.