DPD officer shot 3 times protecting partner awarded Badge of Bravery

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On Monday a big honor for a Detroit police officer who put his life on the line to save his partner.

Officer Benjamin Atkinson was awarded with the Congressional Badge of Bravery.

Atkinson was shot three times in March 15 of 2017: "I can honestly say that's the most scared I've been in my life," he said.

His partner, Officer James Kisselburg was on the ground bleeding and paralyzed. 
"Every breath I took, I just assumed it was going to be my last breath," Kisselburg said.

But it's because of Atkinson's quick action and his devotion to his brother in blue that saved his partner's life.
"This is my definition of a hero," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan).

Benjamin Atkinson was honored with the congressional Badge of Bravery Monday. 

"A mother can hug her son because of Benjamin," said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan). "And a community is safer because of Benjamin."

The Badge of Bravery is a very rare award, only two other officers in Michigan have received one.

That terrifying night still feels like yesterday for Kisselburg and Atkinson. The two were shot while stopping 60-year-old Raymond Durham near Ash and Tillman on the city's west side.

Durham, unbeknownst to them at the time, was armed and responsible for the murder of Wayne State University Police Officer Colin Rose.

Durham pulled a gun from his waistband and shooting both of them.

"Officer Kisselburg was critically wounded from a gunshot to his jaw, the same entered and shattered his right shoulder blade and struck three of his vertebrae before exiting his shoulder," said DPD Assistant Chief James White.

Kisselburg became paralyzed as a second bullet became lodged in his neck.  

"Every time I hears a gunshot I was waiting for it to be my last," he said.

Atkinson was shot three times, his vest stopped two, but one bullet shattered his ankle.

"That moment where I didn't hear his voice, that 10 seconds was the most scary thing I've ever encountered in my life," Atkinson said.

James Kisselburg then closed his eyes preparing to die.
"I opened my eyes up and there was my partner standing back over the top of the car returning fire," Kisselburg said. "And then coming over, limping over to me and falling on top of me."


DPD officers share details of night they were shot in line of duty

Atkinson protected his partner from gunfire while scaring off Durham who, thanks to both of them was later captured and charged.

Atkinson was called a hero as Kisselburg says he's "eternally grateful."