KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- All week long, police around the country have been honoring their fallen brothers and sisters, officers who made the supreme sacrifice. Police week means a lot to one retired Kansas City, Kan., police officer who says she's lucky to be alive today. Now for the first time ever, she's telling her story in this exclusive television interview.
The Police Memorial in KCK honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. But there's one name you won't see on the list: Susan Brown. More than six years ago, she was shot and left for dead as robbers hit the Kansas Speedway vault.
"It was a gorgeous day," said Brown.
Brown, a veteran cop and respected detective, was guarding Kansas Speedway's vault with a million dollars worth of deposits from a busy day at the track. A woman and her baby had just left when Brown saw the two masked men.
"They have masks on, I see guns, they're not here to have a conversation okay?" she said laughing. She can laugh about it because she survived to tell the story. The robbers and Brown exchanged lots of gunfire, Brown got hit several times, some at point blank range.
"I thank God every day that after they got in they didn't kill me," she said, "God had a lot of angels around me that day, I know that."
But some would say Brown herself was an angel, because as she shot at the robbers, she also made sure the track employees hid inside the vault. She says she was just doing her job, and her training took over. She managed to call a "10-60" officer down code on the radio. She tears up when remembering how she asked someone to call her father. But she doesn't remember a lot after that, being air lifted to the hospital, the doctors fighting to save her.
Meanwhile, police caught the guys not far from the track. Nolden Garner and Fredrick Douglas, it turns out, had been track volunteers. Brown said there was no way they would get away with it.
"They was surrounded by cops out there, on duty and off duty," she said.
Brown spent a long time at KU Hospital, her room packed with flowers and cards. She had been shot 4 to 6 times in the chest and leg, the bullet in her arm is still there. After many surgeries and six months of rehab, she was able to return to work. Despite the bullet in her arm, she scored a 94 percent on her shooting test. She laughs about it: "I can still shoot ya!"
Brown says it's hard to attend the Police Week Memorials, hard to think that day six years ago could have ended so differently.
"If they had been a few more inches to their right, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation," she said. "I was blessed."
Brown says she's gone to every one of Garner and Douglas' court dates: conviction, sentencing and now appeals. She's glad they will be paying the price for their life path, a life of crime, instead of her having to pay the price with her name on the KCK Police Memorial.