FRESNO, California — The moment Deputy John Erickson waved to media as he was discharged from the hospital was quick. But in that quick moment, you could tell how emotional it was for him.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims knows it’s a long road, still, for Erickson to fully recover. But she knows the community support he’s had will carry him through it all.
With a thumbs up, Erickson only had two words to say as he left the hospital: thank you. He was rushed to the hospital on July 2 when he was shot in the leg while responding to a call in Tollhouse.
Kerman Police officer Isaias Barbosa visited Erickson — his former partner — the day it happened. He knew Erickson would pull through.
“His work ethic hasn’t changed. His approach to life hasn’t changed, he’s just a fun guy to be around, and he’s got a great sense of life,” said Barbosa. “He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever known.”
Mims said whenever one of her deputies gets involved in a shooting, they always take a physical and mental toll.
“Once the deputy experiences something like this, you live with it the rest of your life. I think that’s something the public needs to know,” she said.
She said it’s been humbling having the greater Central Valley law enforcement community standing with Erickson since the shooting. She knows they’ll continue to do so, until he’s back 100%.
“The first and only priority right now is making sure Dep. Erickson gets better. We’re taking care of his family the best we can. A good example is deputies heard they needed hay for their horses — and they made it happen,” Mims said.
Michael Congdon, the man accused of shooting Erickson, has already pleaded not guilty to all of his charges in court. His next court hearing is scheduled for next week.