LENEXA, Kan. -- The congregation of the Lenexa Christian Center plans to gather Wednesday night to pray for the Wyandotte County deputy shot multiple times early Wednesday morning when he encountered armed robbers at a convenience store.
According to authorities, the Wyandotte County sheriff’s deputy walked into the 7-Eleven off Shawnee Drive and I-635 around 1 a.m. to get something after his shift.
The deputy was inside at the counter when three men walked into the convenience store. They pistol-whipped the clerk and shot the deputy several times in the chest. The deputy fell to the ground but was able to use his portable radio to call in "officer down" before he was shot in the face. Altogether, he was hit possibly seven times; his body has approximately 14 enter and exit wounds.
The suspects are thought to be involved in other overnight robberies including two in KCMO and one in KCK.
Matt Purkey is the pastor of the Lenexa Christian Center, and says he knows the deputy and his family. FOX 4 is not identifying the victim, who remains in critical condition, but learned he has a family and was only just recently deputized in Wyandotte County after graduating from the police academy in September.
Purkey received the call that his friend had been shot at about 4:43 a.m.
"Probably one of the kindest men you'll ever meet. Doesn't say a lot, does a lot," said Purkey, who says he's known the deputy for 15 years.
The deputy has a wife and a 15-year-old son, according to Purkey, and he says they've shown amazing strength.
"Here is the 15-year-old son, I'm crying this morning, he's comforting me," he said. "I'm like, 'I think you need my job.'"
Purkey says when he visited the deputy, he remained in critical condition with 14 bullet holes, but still "squeezed a few hands."
"He is a fighter," said Purkey. "What they have done is atrocious, what they have done is wrong, sinful, inhumane and as tough as it is, I would tell them I believe if his family was here, amidst all that, they would look you right in the eye and tell you, we forgive you."
The prayer service will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Lenexa Christian Center, 17500 W 87th St.