MCSO Deputy Ruben Garcia speaks publicly for the first time after being shot in the face

PEORIA, AZ - A Maricopa County deputy spoke out in public for the first time Friday -- three months after a suspect shot him in the face.

ABC15 sat down with Ruben Garcia and his wife Georgina.              

Garcia has a lot of people to thank after making it out of the shooting alive. But his battle scars won't let him forget.

"On the outside I might seem normal to a lot of people. But on the inside, like I said, it's kind of depressing," Garcia said.

In January a welfare check quickly escalated into a shooting that changed his life. After reconstructive surgery, Ruben is slowly healing. But he says his family suffered the most.

"I can't imagine what they were going through. I know now, now with the recovery phase, now it's my turn to do the suffering, and that's okay," he said.

Ruben's wife Georgina says it was worse than a nightmare.

"You get that knock on the door, that you pray you never get. And I pray nobody ever gets again," she said.

As her husband fought for his life, Georgina fought to stay strong.

"Going through that, I mean my heart was in my stomach," she said, fighting back tears.

By the end of January, Ruben moved out of ICU and eventually moved home. And then after 19 years together and several years engaged, they made it official.

"We just, we never got around to actually getting married. But once this happened, we said, 'okay, we're not taking anymore time, we're not waiting!'" Georgina Lopez Garcia said.

Now as husband and wife, they're rebuilding and taking it day by day.

"All we can do is just thank everybody for all of their prayers. For everything that they did for us," she said.

Garcia plans to return to work, he's just not sure when. Police shot and killed the suspect after he shot Garcia.

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