Waco officer run down by drug suspect improving
The condition of a Waco officer who was seriously injured Tuesday when he was run down by an SUV driven by a drug suspect is improving, police said Thursday.
"He is continuing to improve and for that, we are not only very fortunate, but most thankful for" police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
William Graeber, 40, an eight-year veteran of the Waco Police Department, suffered three broken ribs, a broken pelvis, a broken collarbone, a collapsed lung, a concussion and burns to his arm.
“Today has been a painful day for Will as he is asked to do things with a broken body that one would not voluntarily submit to,” the family said in a statement that Waco police released Thursday.
“However, Will is healthy, strong, young, and fortunately for him physically fit. Now don’t let this fool you as it’s my understanding he is fully capable of fussing at his nurses as he sees fit. Will, you need to remember they are armed with catheters and needles…Better to do as they say!” the statement said.
He was intubated Tuesday and a chest tube was implanted.
The breathing tube was removed Wednesday morning, Swanton said.
"Mrs. Graeber has asked me to relay that there are no anticipated additional surgeries and he is continuing to progress well. Doctors told them if he continues in this direction rehab may start as early as next week," Swanton said Thursday.
Police are inviting residents to sign a banner in the lobby of the Waco Police Department at 3115 Pine Ave., and a fund has been established for the officer and his family at Extraco Bank.
Officer Mike Bucher has agreed to handle questions from residents about how to help Graeber and his family.
He may be reached at (254) 230-3184.
Graeber was walking toward the SUV after a traffic stop Tuesday morning at North 23rd Street and Olive Avenue when the driver ran him down.
He ended up pinned beneath the SUV.
Graeber's uniform got caught and started to wrap up in the SUV's drivetrain, Swanton said.
Other officers opened fire on the suspect.
Witnesses said officers fired 20 to 30 shots at the SUV, but a law enforcement source said no more than about 15 shots were fired.
"Once the suspect was removed and secured from his vehicle, the additional responding officers had to cut the officer's uniform from the drivetrain of the vehicle and then several officers physically lifted the GMC Yukon off of the officer so they could tend to him medically," Swanton said.
Graeber was taken to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery.
His wife issued a statement Wednesday through the police department.
“She has been overwhelmed by the prayers, concerns, and thoughts from our entire community," Swanton said.
"She has asked for continued prayers for her husband. She has also asked for the continued prayers for the family of the suspect that was involved in (the) incident,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday identified the man who was shot to death after running Graeber down as Kerry Demars Bradley, 37 of Waco.
A preliminary autopsy report released Thursday said he died of multiple gunshot wounds, but provided no further information.
A law enforcement source says Bradley had a lengthy criminal record.
His criminal history includes several convictions for evading arrest as well as for possession of a controlled substance and assault on a family member, according to online records.
He was the registered owner of the SUV on which SWAT team and drug enforcement officers were attempting to serve a warrant just after 10 a.m. Tuesday on Olive Street in North Waco when the incident occurred, Swanton said.
The warrant officers were trying to serve Tuesday was issued on July 31 and authorized a search of not only of the GMC Yukon that Bradley was driving, but also a home in the 3200 block of North 24th Street, and a 2009 Dodge Charger.
The warrant said Bradley had been under investigation for about two months for distribution of heroin and said a confidential informant had made heroin buys from the suspect.
Texas Rangers joined the investigation of the shooting.
(Paul Gately, Randy Davis, John Carroll, Neal Klaeser, Ke'Sha Lopez and Rissa Shaw contributed to this story)
WACO, Texas (KWTX)—Waco police Chief Ryan Holt was in a meeting when he heard the officers’ call for help on the radio.
“I think every member of the Waco Police Department went to the scene,” he said.
Officers from other agencies responded as well, including Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, game wardens and McLennan County sheriff’s deputies.
“You sort of make order out of chaos, and that’s what our people did,” he said.
The Waco City Council observed a moment of silence for the injured officer at the start of its meeting Tuesday afternoon.