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Wounded MCSO deputy Garcia makes public appearance

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy Ruben Garcia doesn’t remember the shooting that has kept him off the job for months.

Garcia was responding to a domestic violence call Jan. 8 in Peoria when he shot multiple times in the face by a man in a pickup truck. The suspect, 54-year-old Donald Miller, died in a shootout later that night with Peoria police.

Garcia is recovering from his injuries. “My vision on my left eye is distorted,” he said. “I’m still taking pain medication for my jaw, which was reconstructed. The doctors and the medical staff were excellent. I’m still going through surgeries.”

But Friday he got the chance to publicly thank the man who saved his life at the same time Garcia was being honored by the department.

Andrew John Phelps, 20, heard a woman yelling that a deputy had been shot. Phelps had learned CPR at school, and went into action. “It was a very gruesome scene for me,” he said. “I definitely have stories to tell my grandchildren.”

Garcia’s story is ongoing. He said he is battling with bouts of depression but he hopes to get back on the job as soon as he’s able.

He is thankful for the support from his family and members of the community.