MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It was over in seconds, but it changed a Tunica sheriff's deputy's life. Captain Leardis Griffin was escorting a prisoner last week when his gun went off by accident. Griffin was hit in the leg and doctors had to amputate it below the knee.
He's still undergoing treatment at The MED in Memphis. Where most would be utterly defeated, he's remaining positive, focused on healing and already thinking of when he can get back to work.
"I'm doing better than expected, recovering fast," he says. "Hopefully I can be back to doing normal things." The last seven days have been anything but normal because of his accident.
"I really don't remember it," he says. "I just know I'm here now. I'm taking it day by day."
Griffin is a 16-year veteran of the Tunica Sheriff's Department. He was leading the Emergency Response Team, Tunica's equivalent of SWAT, when his gun went off by mistake.
"He accidentally slipped and he had his hand, his rifle in his hand. It was an M-16 and he said his reflexes kicked in and he automatically grabbed something and his finger pulled the trigger," says his wife Angela. She says the bullet caused too much damage to his leg for doctors to save it.
"He's had four surgeries already. The amputation wound is still open. They're trying to determine if muscle will thrive before they close it," she says.
"I'm in pain but it's to be expected," Griffin tells us. "Other than that I'm doing wonderful." And he's counting his blessings, not what he's lost.
One of Griffin's fellow deputies is by his side 24 hours a day. "Somebody's with me all the time, supporting me," he says.
"He has someone to talk to," adds Angela. "It's just constant motivation. He hasn't even thought about disability. He has in his head 'I'm going to get my prosthetic and then get back to work.'"
"I know that God has blessed me to be here and that's what keeps my spirits up and high," Griffin explains. "I know without him I wouldn't be here."
Griffin will have another operation this week. Doctors have been waiting to see if his muscle survives, and whether they have to take off any more of his leg.
While he's recovering, the sheriff's department is putting together a trust fund for him. Donations can be made at any First Security Bank Branch in Tunica, or you can send a check payable to "Leardis Griffin Trust Fund" to:
Tunica County Sheriff's Office
ATTN: Commander Cedric Davis
P.O. BOX 25
Tunica, MS 38676