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IE sheriff's deputy credits flashlight with saving his life during a shooting

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Lt. Jim Considine lost his leg when shot by a suspect, but he could've lost his life if another AK-47 round hadn't hit his flashlight. (KABC)

"I never thought it would happen to me," said San Bernardino County sheriff's Lt. Jim Considine. "It was one heck of a night."

Considine is talking about the night of Sept. 27, 1997. He was involved in a vehicle pursuit in the high desert community of Phelan that ended at a rural property.

The suspect exited the vehicle and ran; so did Considine.

"Once I exited, I took one round right through my hip," said Considine. "Didn't even know the suspect was armed, I never saw a gun."

Considine was hit four times - once in the foot, and three times in his legs.

But it could have been even worse. One of the bullets also hit the Maglite he was holding onto at the time.

It fell to the ground. But that was a blessing; as he crawled away, the suspect kept firing. Not at Considine, but at his flashlight.

"It really worked out well because it was pointing directly at him," said Considine. "So he thought I was still behind the light. It was impressive how much it took his attention off me."

Deputies returned fire, killing the suspect.

Considine was critically wounded, and spent more than a month in the hospital. He retired from the department, and a few years later had his leg amputated.

But he would later return to the department, and eventually make his way onto the streets again. He finished at the top of his class during SWAT training.

"It really pushed me to places I never thought I could go, it was pretty good."

Considine says he doesn't think much about that night.

But not long ago he was able to see the Maglite that helped save his life that night.

It wasn't just a distraction for the shooter; Considine says the flashlight itself stopped one of the bullets from hitting him in the chest. He says it was a bullet that would have pierced his bulletproof vest, had it not hit the Maglite.

"It was kind of a chill to the bones," said Considine about the moment he first looked at the Maglite, with the bullet still lodged inside.

"Every time it gives me chills; it's impressive," said Considine. "A square shot. If it had been an inch either way, it would have shot up into my face, or it could have gone down. Who knows?"

Considine is set to be honored at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario on Wednesday. He will be dropping the puck at the beginning of an Ontario Reign hockey game, as the "Hero of the Game."

Related Topics:
san bernardino county sheriff's departmentdeputy-involved shootingSan Bernardino CountyPhelan
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