Getting shot in the head was never going to stop Arlington police officer Bryan Graham from returning to duty just as soon as his bosses would let him.
As long, that is, as he still had the blessing of his wife and two young children.
Graham, a member of the Arlington SWAT unit, reflected Thursday morning on his quick recovery -- he was back at work 20 days after the shooting -- and on being chosen for an award that will be presented Friday in Austin by Gov. Rick Perry.
The 12-year veteran of the Arlington Police Department was wounded the evening of June 5 during a tactical operation to help Fort Worth police arrest an armed-robbery suspect. He was the first officer to enter the east Arlington apartment where Alexzander Rye Coan, 23, was holed up.
A shot fired by Coan struck Graham in his right temple. In a stroke of remarkable fortune, the bullet never penetrated his skull but traveled along the side of his head and exited behind his ear.
Graham said that, other than losing consciousness for what fellow officers said was about 10 seconds, he remembered everything that happened.
"I knew where we were," he told members of the DFW news media at police headquarters. "I knew why we were there."
It quickly became apparent to Graham that he wasn't seriously injured. His wife, Lauren, however, suffered through what must have seemed like hours of angst after she was picked up and driven to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where Graham was taken.
"All she knew was that I had been shot in the face," Graham said. "She had a half an hour or longer of thinking the worst."
Lauren Graham said Thursday that it was a "tough experience" but that she knows how much her husband loves his job.
"He was a police officer long before we got married," she said. "I knew what I was getting myself into."
Another member of the tactical team, officer Charles Crawford, said a day after the incident that Graham "performed at the level of a hero."
Police fatally shot Coan, a suspect in at least four aggravated robberies in Fort Worth. Fort Worth police had located Coan at an apartment complex in the 600 block of East Arkansas Lane and had tried to execute an arrest warrant at about 4:45 p.m. When Coan wouldn't come out, Arlington police were called to assist.
In Austin, Graham will receive the Governor's Star of Texas. The award began in 2003 and honors peace officers, firefighters and emergency medical responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. Many of Graham's fellow officers will accompany him and his family to Austin on Friday.-Patrick M. Walker