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Retired officer speaks about US Marshal shooting and how his vest saved his life

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Just five months after the deadly officer involved shooting that took the life of a US Marshal, a task member who was shot and saved by his vest that day is speaking out.

The former Harrisburg officer recounts the day that changed his life.

“It made me realize that you can’t take things for granted, because one day you’re here and one day you might not be.”

For Jeffery Cook, retirement means coaching rugby, but one incident almost took that and everything else away from him.

“ A bunch of the guys went inside. I was out front on the outer perimeter, I heard shots ring out," Cook recalled.

He is describing the scene in Harrisburg, the morning of January 18th, 2018, a morning he came face to face with the man who almost killed him.

"I step from cover to a different position to push to the house and the next thing I know Sturgis comes out of the house with a gun. He looks at me, I look at him. I start stepping back and then I pulled the trigger and I felt something hit me but I look to make sure see if I could see anything I didn’t see a hole or didn’t feel any blood or see any blood or feel any blood leaking,” he said.

Cook says he exchanged fire with Kevin Sturgis, along with other officers who eventually killed him.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill was killed in the shoot out by friendly fire.

He says that day was a blur and when he was checked at the scene he was told he wasn't hit.

It wasn't until later that he found out something was wrong.

“I went down to the forensic room took off my vest and that’s when the forensic investigator said there’s a hole in your vest,” Cook said.

An emotional moment for Cook, who was taken to the hospital where his wife works to get checked out.

“She came into the room and it was pretty hard, you know, we were only married since October and here in January this happened.”

Cook is the 2006th person to be saved by his Safari Land Rifle plates that he wore in a carrier on top of his Kevlar vest.

A gift from a retired task force member, one that saved his life.

“ I called him the very next morning and thanked him and he just said I’m so glad you’re wearing them I said I can’t thank you enough and he said no worries I’m just glad you wore them and glad they were of use.” Cook tells us.

Cook was set to retire in February, but stayed until June.

He tells us he wanted to prove to himself that he could go back to work and do the job he loved.

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