Injured Fayette Co. deputy strong, defiant as he recalls being shot on duty
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We're hearing for the first time from the deputy left blinded after being shot on duty. Fayette County Deputy Sheriff C.J. Lehmann was shot November 1 while serving a warrant. (Photo courtesy: Fayette County Sheriff's Office)

We're hearing for the first time from the deputy left blinded after being shot on duty. Fayette County Deputy Sheriff C.J. Lehmann was shot November 1 while serving a warrant.

Today he is strong and defiant as he talks about his injuries and his future. Deputy Lehmann cut to the chase while discussing his injuries, “The remnants of this (left) eye were removed. This (right) one is severely damaged by just trauma. And it's not clear yet if I'll get vision back in it."

Just his scarred face alone might suggest to some people the prognosis for Deputy Lehmann might be grim. And you might be right. Deputy Lehmann explains, “I should be able to get some vision back in my right eye but it's going to take time just because of the trauma that was done to it, and just go from there. It's going to be months down the road before anything is definite."

But he's not letting all of this get him down. Deputy Lehmann says with a laugh, “I like being happy. You can ask all my friends. Can't keep me down. I'm always going to be there."

Deputy Lehmann agreed to our interview to thank all his well-wishers for their support since the shooting. He almost got that chance when he was on his way home from the hospital. He asked that his ambulance swing by a fundraiser being held for him. But Deputy Lehmann says, “They wouldn't let me out so I couldn't thank everybody. But I told them I wanted to at least go through there so they know, hey I'm good."

Deputy Lehman grew up in Fayette County and says he's living the dream. “I love the community. I love my job. I love doing what I do," he says.

Good thing... because he has a future with the sheriff's office. “They said that no matter what I'll have a job here... doing something. I'm not ready to throw in any kind of towel just because I can't see."

If you'd like to help Deputy Lehmann with his medical expenses there will be a fundraiser this Sunday, November 18, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus in La Grange. They're promising chicken stew plates and live and silent auctions.

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