CONCORD — A Weare police officer shot last week while responding to a domestic violence call left the hospital Monday, grateful to be alive and for the outpouring of support he has received.
WEARE — The man who shot a local police officer who was responding to a domestic disturbance…
Officer William Paul Lewis, 27, was accompanied by two fellow Weare police officers, a New Hampshire State Police trooper and his mother as he was released from Concord Hospital.
“The support has been 100 percent unbelievable,” Lewis said. “It’s really what is driving me to recover.”
Lewis, who goes by his middle name, Paul, said he had a four-hour surgery to repair damage caused by two bullets that had hit him in his right arm and passed through, damaging his biceps and forearm. He said doctors told him an additional surgery will be necessary to repair nerve damage in the arm, which was still swollen and immobilized as he left the hospital in a wheelchair Monday morning.
“The time in the hospital was certainly tough, but having that support was amazing and it got me through it,” Lewis said. “I feel very fortunate. I’m able to leave and go home. Not every officer is as fortunate as I am.”
Lewis said he has heard from law enforcement from throughout New Hampshire and the entire country over the past few days. He said doctors told him it could be six months, perhaps longer, for his arm to recover enough for him to return to duty, which he pledged to do.
“My longtime dream was to be a police officer. This isn’t going to stop me,” Lewis said.
Lewis and another officer responded to a domestic violence call around 1:40 a.m. Thursday at 236 Buckley Road in Weare. Lewis was shot twice after entering the home and encountered Jeffrey Clough-Garvin, who authorities said fired at the officers before barricading himself in the home.
No other officers were injured in the standoff, which ended around 8:30 a.m. Thursday when members of the New Hampshire State Police SWAT team entered the home and found Clough-Garvin’s body inside. The state medical examiner said Clough-Garvin had shot himself in the chest. The examiner ruled the death a suicide.
“We’re lucky that we know the wife is at least safe,” Lewis said.
Lewis said he was a little surprised to be released from the hospital so quickly. He said he knew during the ambulance ride that he had lost a lot of blood. He said he had been worried until doctors assured him that he would be able to make a strong recovery.
Carole Lambert, Lewis’ mother, was also grateful. She said that when she got a phone call from New Hampshire in the middle of the night she knew immediately something terrible had happened. Fortunately, it was her son calling.
“It was 4 o’clock in the morning. I saw a 603 number and I knew right away he got shot. But it was his voice, so it calmed me,” Lambert said.
Lewis said he had to collect himself emotionally before making the call.
“It was tough. I was crying up to the time that I had to make it. I had to get the words right. No one wants to scare their mom. So I laid it all out there. I let her know I was fine,” he said.
Lewis joined the Weare Police Department in July 2018. Police Chief Christopher Moore, who was just sworn in to the post in June, said Lewis has already impressed him as a young officer with big ambition and strong dedication to service.
“He does have a genuine interest in being able to communicate with the public effectively and building that trust between the police department and the community,” Moore said.
Moore was also thankful for everything other agencies have done for Lewis and the department over the past few days.
He said other officers immediately began providing aid during the tense active-shooter situation, including providing a tourniquet that helped prevent Lewis from losing any more blood than he did.
“The law enforcement community support for this incident was just outstanding,” Moore said. “From the state police to local jurisdictions, everyone chipped in for that team effort to make sure whatever needed to get done got done.”
Lewis said he was confident he would be back on the job as soon as he can be.
“It’s the amount of effort I put into it and I’m definitely going to put a lot of effort into my recovery,” he said. “It’s my promise to the community and the country and law enforcement all over the world.”