Victoria police officer recalls being shot during bank robbery (Video)
May 15, 2013 at 12:15 a.m.
Updated May 16, 2013 at 12:16 a.m.
Ray Reyna knows he is lucky his name isn't on the roll call of fallen officers read Wednesday at the annual Peace Officers Memorial ceremony.
Reyna, who spent 21 years in the Victoria Police Department, was shot May 25, 1982, responding to a bank robbery.
Hit twice - once in the knee and once in the hip - Reyna recalled not being scared until in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
"I didn't think about it at the time. It was a wild scene, a hell of a two or three minutes. Lots of bullets flying," said Reyna, who now works in the pro shop at Riverside Golf Course. "I remember how hot the asphalt was when I went down in the street. Some lady helped me up into the grass."
Reyna was headed back to the station that day, 30 minutes away from getting off duty, when he answered the call for backup at Citizens National Bank.
He recalls his shotgun stock and radio being destroyed by bullets that missed him.
"It really hit me in the emergency room when I realized I couldn't move my leg at all," said Reyna, who returned to duty after Thanksgiving that year.
Reyna thinks events like the Peace Officers Memorial ceremony are important.
"It's definitely good to be remembered for doing something positive," he said. "I know the families appreciate it."
Families, friends and fellow officers attended the ceremony at DeLeon Plaza on Wednesday as fallen officers from Victoria and from Texas were remembered.
Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor called it a time of reflection.
"Not only are we reflecting on the men and women who paid the ultimate price of their lives in the line of duty, but we must also reflect on ourselves, our careers and our purpose in life in this profession," said the sheriff.
"This is an appropriate time, not only to remember those who have made those sacrifices before us but those of you who continue to serve and protect."
O'Connor urged fellow officers to take time to reflect on their own lives and have fellowship with other law enforcement officers.
Victoria Police Chief J.J. Craig also addressed the crowd that included Victoria police officers, Victoria County sheriff's deputies and members of the Victoria Police Academy.
"Law enforcement officers and firefighters risk their lives every day because they want to help; they want to make a difference," Craig said. "These officers we honor today made a difference."
Also as part of the ceremony, Victoria County Commissioner Danny Garcia read a proclamation from the commissioners court declaring this week as Peace Officers Memorial Week and Wednesday as Peace Officers Memorial Day.
Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong presented a similar proclamation.
O'Connor and Craig placed a wreath at displays honoring Victoria law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
Craig shared that he attends the National Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony every year to honor a fellow officer he served with in the Long Beach Police Department.
He noted an inscription on the monument that best describes why remembering peace officers is important.
The inscription reads: "It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it's how they lived."