ANDERSON – A police officer who was shot in both legs almost two years ago has recovered and rejoined his K-9 group.
Marty Dulworth, 37, has been a member of the Anderson police department for 13 years. On July 26, 2012, he responded to a shooting in Pendleton. Various law enforcement agencies were called to the scene. Officer Dulworth was with his K-9 Kilo.
An innocent bystander, Neal Shull, was killed. Kilo was also killed. The suspect, Jim Kenneth Bailey, was found dead. Dulworth was shot twice.
“The first one went through my lower left leg and I remember falling to the ground and I remember trying to crawl out of the alley. I knew it was bad and then I felt like kind of a bee sting in the right leg,” Dulworth said.
He returned to work seven months after the shooting. His right leg had healed. Doctors saved his left limb. They reconstructed his foot using muscle from his stomach. Dulworth was told to walk on his foot and try to return to normal.
Dulworth said the pain was unbearable. After about a year, he decided the only option he had was to amputate part of his left leg and foot. He said he did research and spoke to other amputees.
“Why should I feel sorry for myself? Everybody wants to see me succeed. I’m not going to let one night in a dark alley ruin the rest of my life,” Dulworth said.
His foot was amputated Sept. 3, 2013.
“Like anyone else, that fear of being different (bothered) me. (I thought) everything (was) going to have to change, but it (didn’t),” Dulworth said.
The community supported him, helping raise money so that he and another officer could get K-9’s again. His gym, White River Club, issued him a lifetime membership. Many people said they were inspired by him and looked up to him because of his strength.
“Marty’s still the same man he was before the shooting and that’s what’s so great about it,” said Lt. John Branson. “We always planned for him to come back. We didn’t think this would stop Marty and we were right.”
Every day, Dulworth builds a bond with his new K-9, Rico.
“I’m at a point in my life where I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been and I feel good,” he said.
Dulworth said he couldn’t have done this without the support of his family, friends, officers and strangers. On Thursday, Dulworth trained with other K-9 officers.
“There’s not one day that goes by that night that doesn’t cross my mind. I lost a partner that night,” he said of Kilo.
He wants people to look at his recovery and realize there’s always hope.
“The guy that didn’t give up. I didn’t let somebody who went off the deep end one night ruin my life and my family’s life because he wasn’t having a good night.”