By Mike Stunson Lexington Herald-Leader
SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. — A Scott County deputy who was shot in the line of duty last week has “severe injuries that are life changing,” and his legs are mostly paralyzed, according to Sheriff Tony Hampton.
Hampton gave the update Monday in a press conference regarding the status of Jamie Morales, who was shot while Scott County deputies and Georgetown police officers were assisting U.S. Marshals in apprehending 57-year-old Edward Reynolds of Florida.
Morales will remain in the ICU at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital until chest tubes are removed, and then will go to a spinal rehabilitation facility.
Morales, a two-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, had two surgeries in the first 24 hours he was at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, according to the sheriff. After his second surgery, he opened his eyes and gave people two thumbs up, according to WKYT, the Herald-Leader’s reporting partner.
Hampton told Morales Sunday that he will beat the odds and overcome his spinal injury.
“I told him, ‘You’re a strong-willed man. If anybody can overcome this, you can,’” Hampton said. “He works out five days a week, he’s strong-willed. He runs in every 5K or has ran in every 5K possible that he could. He’s a Marine, he’s a fighter, so we aren’t giving up hope…none of us…have given up hope he can beat the odds and come out of this.”
Morales “is being as positive as he can right now,” Hampton said Monday.
Donations are being raised to help pay hospital bills for Morales, as well as money for a handicapped-accessible vehicle. T-shirts are available at the sheriff’s office for $15, with the proceeds going to Morales.
The sheriff’s department is sticking together as a family, according to Hampton.
“At the end of the day, we still have a job to do and that’s serve this community,” he said. “We won’t stop. We have to keep going.”
A GoFundMe account for donations to Morales will be available later Monday.
“Donations are going to help a lot because Jamie is going to need a lot of resources in the upcoming weeks, months to help with his upcoming recovery,” Hampton said.