WEARE — The hardest part may be over, or it might be yet to come; either way, Weare police officer William “Paul” Lewis appears to be ready.
Officer William "Paul" Lewis said he knew during the ambulance ride that he had lost a lot of blood.
Lewis spoke to reporters on Monday on the state of his recovery after being shot Aug. 1 in the line of duty.
“I’m someone who is blessed enough to always have some kind of positive vibe, some type of positive outlook, in me, so that’s what I’ve been using to stay up,” he said.
“But also, what it comes down to is the community. Any time I slightly feel alone, I will receive a text message, a notification on Facebook, Instagram, someone reaching out. It’s been so great, all the positivity.”
In the early hours of Aug. 1, Lewis and Weare police Sgt. Austin Maguire entered the home of Jeffrey Clough-Garvin in response to a report of a domestic disturbance.
Police say Clough-Garvin shot at the officers before barricading himself in his house. Seven hours later, a SWAT team entered the Buckley Road residence and found Clough-Garvin’s body; the medical examiner said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Lewis helped remove another individual out of harm’s way from inside the home. During the incident, he was shot in the right forearm and bicep.
He was released from Concord Hospital on Aug. 5, but his arm is still largely immobile and another surgery is scheduled in two weeks to address nerve damage.
Doctors believe it will take at least six months for his arm to return to full health. However, they also noted that this time frame is not guaranteed and that it is too soon to tell if there will be lingering effects from the shooting.
Lewis joined the police department after receiving a master’s degree in social work from Boston University with a specialization in mental health.
On Monday he indicated that he will eventually seek counseling to deal with any psychological aftermath he may face from the incident, but noted that his fellow officers were also helping his morale and will continue to help him moving forward.
This is still the first year in the department for Lewis, and he is unsure whether things may have turned out differently if he had had more experience. However, he still hopes to return to what he says is his dream job, and he hopes his experience will not dissuade anyone else from becoming a police officer.
“This is a setback, I’ll be honest. But this isn’t something that will stop me from pursuing becoming the best police officer I can be,” he said. “I want to make the most out of this career. I am someone who is driven. So yeah, this is a bump, but I am going to be getting back up there and keep going in the field.”
According to Weare Police Department Chief Christopher Moore, Lewis has an open invitation to return to light duty whenever he is ready and obtains doctor’s approval.
There is no set timeline for when Lewis will return to full duty, but Moore said the important thing is that Lewis was not killed during the situation earlier this month.
“When I found out he was OK on the night of the incident, I was ecstatic, seeing his family and knowing he was OK; I couldn’t ask for a better situation,” said Moore.