OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — "When I graduated from the academy, I was very excited, I was ready to get out here and get ready to get to work. And less two weeks afterwards, this incident happened."
Officer Doug Stanek and his field training officer, Patrolman Mark Ayers, were on routine patrol June 29, 2006.
They spotted a car parked on Old Goodman Road that didn't have its lights on. When the two officers pulled behind the car, the lights suddenly came on and the driver pulled off. The car drove a short distance and pulled over again.
"I thought perhaps they needed help," Stanek said. "I turned the blue lights on and pulled up behind the guy, got out, talked to him for a second, I asked him if everything was OK, why he kept pulling over, if he needed help. "
The man asked for directions.
"I said, 'Let me see your license real quick.' And that's when he said, 'Sure,' and then out came the gun and he shot me."
Ayers grabbed his radio and screamed for help.
"I just remember hearing Mark on the radio saying, 'Shots fired, officer down, officer down!'"
The gunman shot Ayers multiples times. Ayers wasn't wearing his bulletproof vest.
"I just remember thinking my life's over, 'cause this guy gets out of the car and then I hear all this extra gunfire, and I'm assuming that it's coming from Mark's gun, but we later found out it wasn't."
Then the gunman got in the car and pulled off.
"When the guy started to drive off, I just noticed that something wasn't right. This guy shouldn't be getting away. And that's when I got up and shot seven times into the back of the car. I turned around and saw Mark face down in grass."
Ayers was airlifted to Regional Medical Center. The bullet pierced his spine, leaving him paralyzed from his chest down and confined to a wheelchair.
"I think God that I'm still here, and that Mark is still here, and I tell people for whatever reason God was on all three of our sides that night. Because that night, that man tried to kill me and Mark, and we are still here. And I tried to kill him that night after he did what he did to us, and for whatever reason, God said it wasn't anybody's time."
The bullet hit Stanek in his bulletproof vest just inches above his heart.
Olive Branch officers have spent 11 years searching for the gunman.
"Two of our officers shot, I want to find, not necessarily me, but I want the Olive Branch Police Department to find out who did this and bring justice to those officers."
If you know recognize the man in the video or know who shot the officers, call the DeSoto County Crime Stoppers at 662-429-TIPS. All calls are confidential.