EAST PEORIA (WEEK) — An East Peoria Police Officer is back on the job after a suspect almost stabbed him to death.
It happened in the early morning February 2, when Officer Jeffrey Bieber was stabbed several times in the neck and face by 19-year-old Joshua Crites while responding to a domestic violence call.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Bieber
“The suspect I was dealing with approached me, was calm, was polite, was cooperative, nothing abnormal,” Bieber said.
Bieber says he called for an ambulance before he was attacked since the suspect was injured. That decision turned out to be crucial to saving his life.
“I requested an ambulance,” Bieber said. “Thankfully, that ended up being my ambulance a few minutes later.”
The fight lasted around a full minute. Officer Bieber says he wasn’t sure if he’d make it back home.
Bieber: “I was waiting for my backup, kneeling down on one knee. I realized the severity of my injuries at that point. I was bleeding out fast.”
25 News: “In that moment, did you think you were going to die?”
Bieber: “100 percent.”
During the encounter, Bieber tried to use a stun gun to incapacitate Crites before fatally shooting him in the chest.
Police reports obtained by 25 News shed more light on what led to the initial domestic dispute.
In the aftermath, East Peoria Police Chief Rich Brodrick says he wasn’t sure Bieber would survive when he spoke to media following the shooting.
“We had no idea whether or not, what his status was, we were still waiting to hear something from the hospital when we were all on scene,” Brodrick said.
Bieber lost 30 percent of his blood following the fight, but Chief Brodrick says the first thing Bieber said following surgery was to ask about the man he had shot.
In the four months since, Bieber has made a miraculous recovery, to the surprise of even some of his doctors.
The scars, both literally and emotionally, are still there. But, they haven’t tempered his resolve.
Bieber was honored Tuesday night by the East Peoria City Council for his bravery and returned to work the same day. Despite that, he says he doesn’t feel like a hero and was just doing his job.
“Always wanted a paid vacation at home, but that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be,” Bieber said. “I was eager to get back to work and get back at it because this is my passion. This is my love.”
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