PEORIA, AZ - On a chilly night in January, Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Ruben Garcia pulled a truck over near 83rd Avenue and Deer Valley.
Moments after he called in the license plate number, the veteran officer was shot in the face.
As Garcia lay in the parking lot, two Peoria officers were first on the scene to render aid.
"It's probably one of the worst things I've ever experienced," said Officer Pat Shearer.
Garcia survived and credits Shearer and another officer, Ryan Bakke for the immediate aid that may have saved his life.
"As grave as the injuries were, it was definitely overwhelming," said Officer Ryan Bakke. "I just wanted to make him more comfortable and make him aware he wasn't alone."
As Shearer stayed with Garcia, Bakke jumped into the investigation.
For the first time, the three men met each other Wednesday.
"They are my heroes," said Garcia. "I just appreciate everything so much."
For Shearer, it wasn't the first time he's been in the spotlight.
The former sergeant was demoted after making national headlines for posting his involvement in a photo of a group of teens holding a bullet-ridden President Obama t-shirt .
The Secret Service even investigated the incident, which led to Shearer being demoted and suspended.
Wednesday, Shearer was described as a hero and a lifesaver as the Peoria police chief was quick to praise both Shearer and Bakke.
"They are heroes," said Chief Roy Minter. "You hope and pray you never have to respond and react to a call like this."
Shearer called the January shooting incident unforgettable, fearing Garcia wouldn't make it. Wednesday, he described the meeting as a proud moment.
"Being here today is one of the best moments in my life," said Shearer.
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