Deputy on New Vest: "I'm a survivor"

Sheriff's deputy appreciates new bullet proof vest, clings to old one

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By Monique Williams

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WOLO) -- A near-death experience for one Midlands sheriff's deputy leaves her thankful and ready to put the past behind her. But as ABC Columbia's Monique Williams discovered, as the officer gets a new bullet proof vest, she never wants to forget the day she could've died without the old one.

"I still do get emotional when I think about it sometimes," said Sr. Deputy Sheila Aull.

As he Richland County law enofrcement officer today receives a brand new bullet proof vest, she insists on clinging to the old one that, 10 weeks ago, took a bullet so she didn't have to.

"Everyday I thank God I'm here. [The old vest] reminds of what happened."

On February 26, Deputy Aull and other deputies, near the intersection of Saint Andrews and Broad River roads, came face to face with a suspect on the run, police say, for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend.
During the shoot-out the suspect was shot and killed. Aull was shot but survived.

"It was nothing I wanted to do but it had to be done."

"She survived something most people in law enforcement never get exposed to and she is able to stand here and continue her career after after what she went through," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

And support for her heroic efforts since then has come from the most unlikely sources.

"I've even had people on the street I've taken to jail come up to me and told me they're glad I'm okay," said Aull.

Along with her new $650 bullet proof vest, provided by Point Black Protective Vests, company representatives also presented Aull with a commemorative plaque for bravery, along with a word of caution for the future.

"Let's not do this again."

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association Law Enforcement Memorial is scheduled for tomorrow. That's a time when the memories of men and women in law enforcement who lost their lives in the line of duty are honored. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says it was fitting to celebrate Deputy Sheila Aull's heroism and bravery today.

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