A Sylvester Police Officer was honored Tuesday by the company that made the bulletproof vest that saved his life.
Galls sells body armor for law enforcement, and one of their vests stopped a bullet fired point blank into Officer Jonathan Luna's chest.
Luna was shot in the chest from just a couple of feet away as he fought a man he was trying to arrest. Luna says he is living proof that bulletproof vests are necessary equipment for all law enforcement.
Sylvester Police Officer Jonathan Luna is presented a plaque from Galls representative Jeff Kidd, thanking him for his service in law enforcement.
Luna says he has a real appreciation for their product quality.
"I mean I'd be dead. Because it was so close up, and the area where shot me," said Luna.
July 27 Officer Luna was helping serve an arrest warrant when he started to chase the suspect. The two fought and the suspect took Officer Luna's pistol and shot him. The bullet stuck in the vest. The shooter was captured a short time later. Luna was hospitalized for a few days, but returned to duty a week and a half later.
"From that incident I've learned a lot. I've become a better officer," said Luna.
Kidd says he's glad Officer Luna is a safe customer of his company.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with them every day, and we can't thank them enough for the service they provide for us on a daily basis," said Kidd.
Sylvester has never had a police officer killed in the line of duty, and their department has a policy that requires officers to wear bullet proof vests.
"Since 1972 3000 officers have been saved by wearing body armor. And it's something we need to emphasize to the law enforcement community. It's important we wear our equipment," said Sylvester Police Chief Robert Jennings.
Officer Luna says now he would never go without his bullet proof vest at work.
"Every time I put it on, I think about if I didn't put it on, I could have been dead that day," said Luna.
Luna says the bullet proof vests are hot and sweaty in South Georgia summers, but he says that is a small price to pay for lifesaving security.
Those Gall's bullet proof vests cost about 500 dollars each. Sylvester got a federal grant that paid half of the cost for their vests. Officer Luna's vest that saved his life is being held by the GBI as evidence.
44-year-old Johnny Ben Sims was arrested for shooting Officer Luna. He is charged with aggravated assault and is being held in the Worth County Jail awaiting trial.
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