update 7:50 p.m. 6/6 – Officer Graham has been released from JPS Hospital and is back with his family.
ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Officer Bryan Graham’s fellow officers spoke highly of his actions during a SWAT incident Tuesday that ended with a bullet nearly piercing his skull.
“He performed, in my opinion, at the level of hero,” said Officer Charles Crawford.
Crawford is Graham’s partner on the Arlington SWAT team and complimented his colleague during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Their team was called in to assist Fort Worth Police as they attempted to serve a felony warrant at a east Arlington apartment.
Officers were looking for Alexzander Coan,a 23 year old wanted in connection with several aggravated robberies. Police say Coan’s girlfriend was inside at the time along with a female hostage that needed saving.
That’s when officers say Graham rose to the occasion.
“Hostage rescue is the hardest thing we do,” said Crawford. “There was a hostage inside that needed to be saved and Bryan was willing to put his line on the line to make sure that person was rescued.”
The suspect was killed –– but not before Graham was shot in the head.
“It penetrated at his temple and exited behind his ear. No penetration to the skull, just wrapped around through the skin,” Crawford added.
Doctors say a few centimeters in any other direction would have changed everything for the worse.
“It really hits you hard when its somebody you really, really know,” said Sgt. Curtis Petties, who was in the police academy class with Graham 11 years ago.
Some describe Graham as a miracle. Randle Meadows, President of the Arlington Police Association says Graham’s training and equipment made all the difference.
“The ballistic helmet, the goggles that he was wearing to the vest, all of the equipment all over his body, it was able to be a miracle for Bryan,” said Meadows. ”We’re very fortunate and very blessed. Brian stayed conscious the whole time and wanted to walk on his own.”
Graham is recovering at JPS Hospital and is expected to be OK. Friends say he’s already talking about returning to work.
“We actually sign up to do the job,” said Sgt Petties. “And by looking at Bryan and the way his facial expressions were he was ready to do it all over again –– if need be.”
Arlington Police have also arrested the suspect’s girlfriend, identified as Jade Nycole Simon, 30, of Duncanville.
Simon has been charged with aggravated kidnapping. She also has outstanding warrants for traffic violations. Simon remains in the Arlington City Jail with bail set at $100,995.