MANSFIELD, Mo. A Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper is at home recovering just hours after he was hit twice by bullets during a shootout in Wright County.
Trooper Robert Crewse was shot Wednesday morning during a shootout on a rural road in Mansfield.
The man who started the shootout is at a Springfield hospital with critical injuries from several gunshots.
"He absolutely got lucky," said Sargent Jeffrey Kinder, with Missouri Highway Patrol.
Crewse was sent out to check out some suspicious activity on Clouse Road. There he found a man sitting in his car on the side of the street. That man gave Crewse a fake name. The plates on his vehicle belonged to another vehicle.
The man refused to cooperate. That's when Crewse called for backup.
"He's a good guy. He's a good trooper, good family man," said Kinder.
Another trooper and a Mansfield Police officer went out to help Crewse. That's when authorities say the man started shooting hitting Crewse twice, once on his side. That bullet was stopped by his bullet-proof vest. The other shot grazed his head, putting a hole in his hat.
The man who started the shootout was hit multiple times by shots fired by the officers.
"He went through something that every trooper out there practices most of their adult life and trains for that particular instance, when they're involved in a gun fight, if they ever are. A lot of people go their entire career and never see anything like that. His training allowed him to survive it," said Kinder.
There are only 65 troopers to cover 9 counties throughout the 7500 square miles that makes up Troop G of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Back up from their own department may not always be able to help in time. Troopers often partner up with local police and sheriff's deputies to ensure their safety.
"We rely on each other to take care of each other. Sometimes it's a matter of life and death like we saw today," said Kinder.
He said Wednesday's shooting was shocking. The last time a trooper in Troop G was shot was in 2005.
"People respect the law here. This is uncommon for this part of the country, generally speaking. We're thankful that it went the way it did. We thank God," he said.
It will be a while until the investigation is complete.
Crewse will remain on paid administrative leave then as part of standard procedure.
It's likely the man who started the shootout, if he survives, will be facing jail time.