INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The homeowner injured in the violent home invasion Wednesday in which an Independence police officer was shot, is grateful to Officer Tom Wagstaff for coming to help him. He believes if police hadn't responded, he'd be dead.
"I would tell him how sorry I am, and that our prayers and thoughts are with him and to get well," said Don Fowler.
Fowler, 82, says the only reason he's able to do an interview with FOX 4, is because the heroes in blue came to his home Wednesday to save him.
"Physically I will get well, emotionally it is going to take some time because it happened right here in this house, right by where we are taking this interview," said Don Fowler. "I firmly believe that they saved my life and that they intervened and stopped what was going on."
Police say Joseph E. Wyatt, 28, and Ronar Santiago-Torres, 27, went to Fowler's home to rob Fowler, restrained him and held him at gunpoint. The men repeatedly struck him, and the wounds are still visible on his face and arms.
Thankfully, Fowler's friend was watching his home's surveillance cameras at the time. She saw two men with stocking caps and bandannas covering their faces, beating Don Fowler. She dialed 911 in a panic, telling the dispatcher to get police to the 3600 block of Delaware.
When the men heard police sirens they fled in Fowler's car. When they crashed through the garage door, Wagstaff was outside, and was injured by gunfire. According to a police source, he was shot in the head.
Fowler says when he heard police sirens outside his home, at first he didn't really think they were coming to help him.
"I don't believe that's for me, but it was," he said. "And that's when I was very thankful that this was coming to a close maybe."