YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A police officer was shot at point blank range and lived to talk about what happened.
CBS2’s Mary Calvi sat down with Yonkers Police Officer Kayla Maher for an exclusive interview. It’s an emotional and revealing conversation with the hero in blue.
“I never thought I’d be shot in the face,” she said. “I thought I was fighting for my life.”
She was shot at point blank range, trapped in a hail of gunfire, and then carried to safety by her fellow officers.
“They were fantastic,” she said, fighting back tears.
Officer Maher and her partner had responded to a neighbor’s call of a suspicious vehicle Monday night. What followed nearly killed her.
The gunman fired from just five feet away.
This was the first time Officer Maher talked about the fateful night.
“It was a routine call. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary, until it was,” she said.
Sixty shots were fired that night on Marshall and Ridge roads.
Maher: “There was no coverage.”
Calvi: “There was no place to hide.”
Maher: “No, there was no cover.”
Officer Maher was trapped as the gun battle continued between police officers and the gunman. They gave her cover to get her out of harm’s way. Not one but two officers had to carry her down the street to a waiting ambulance on Park Hill Avenue.
Calvi: “Did you fear for your life?”
Maher: “Of course, yeah.”
In one surveillance video, you can see an officer carry her on his back. Before this, another officer pulled her away from the ambush.
Calvi: “In those minutes, it must have felt like an eternity.”
Maher: “It felt like forever.”
“It was insane. I was worried about everybody. You can’t see everybody, you don’t know where everybody is, you don’t know that everybody is OK,” she adds. “With all that gunfire, that one shot hit one person is unreal.”
No one knows better the danger she faced than her mother, Officer Susan Barry, who is retired from the NYPD.
“To hear your daughter is shot in the face, and then have her saying, ‘Hi, mom,’ when you walk in.” Barry said. “She’s been a champ through this whole thing.”
Then there’s the matter of the alleged gunman, who just a week prior had been released by a judge in the Bronx after being caught with a semi-automatic handgun, 300 rounds of ammunition and a machete.
“Hundreds of rounds of ammunition in this 17-year-old kid’s bag with a gun prior to this. What did you think he was going to do?” Barry said. “I think it’s disgusting. I think that I could have lost my daughter.”
Just one day after the shooting, Officer Maher emerged from the hospital with multiple fractures to her jawbone and a displaced break in her chin. She was greeted by her family in blue.
Thoughts and prayers have poured in for her from around the world, wishing her a speedy recovery.
Calvi: “What was going through your mind when you finally realized you were safe?”
Maher: “I wanted to make sure that the money maker was OK.”
For her family, no matter how long the road, they are ever grateful she’s alive.
“I’m so thankful that you’re here, so thankful I’m able to tell you I love you,” Barry said.
“I was very lucky,” Maher said. “If it wasn’t for the officers that were on scene with me, it probably would have been a lot different.”
Officer Maher told CBS2 that an inch in any direction – if she was shorter or taller – the outcome would have been very different.
She also said “100 percent” she’s going back to work as soon as doctors and the department give her the all clear.