Shoot-out survivor encourages fellow officers

A local hero who survived a gunshot wound to his left arm following a 2011 shoot-out in Clark County encouraged his fellow comrades Saturday to rise above negativity in the public surrounding police work and continue marching onward toward “making their little piece of the planet safer” during his remarks at the 46th annual Logan County Law Enforcement Memorial at the Holland Theatre. 

Police memorial Blum

Former German Township Police Officer Jeremy Blum speaks about his experiences in a 2011 Clark County shoot-out that claimed the life of Clark County Deputy Suzanne Hopper. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR) BELOW: Members of the Logan County law enforcement community’s honor guard march along Main Street and Columbus Avenue beneath a flag hoisted high by firefighters during the Logan County Law Enforcement Memorial parade Saturday morning. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

Former German Township Police Officer Jeremy Blum, who now works for the Wilberforce University Campus Police Department, said the New Year’s Day event in 2011 that forever changed his life started out rather routinely. 

He was on duty in the area of the Upper Valley Mall parking lot writing a parking citation, he said, when he received a dispatch call of “shots fired” at a campground in the area at 11:34 a.m.

“A ‘shots fired’ call is not that uncommon in Clark County, but often it’s relating to people hunting or target practice,” he said, so the call did not immediately cause extreme concern.

However, just moments later, he would receive an “officer down” alert on his radio. One of the first officers on the scene, Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Suzanne Hopper, had sustained a fatal gunshot wound from a suspect, later identified as Michael Ferryman, who was taking cover in his trailer.

“I dropped everything I was doing and had to drive to the scene about eight miles away,” said Mr. Blum, who is a son of an U.S. Air Force pilot and a teacher. “I have never driven so fast in my life.”

When he arrived at the scene at the Enon Beach campground, he said he soon located Deputy Hopper’s body, which was “showing no signs of life. Her chest was not rising or falling,” he said.

Law enforcement surrounded the gunman’s trailer and Officer Blum said a PA system was utilized to try to talk with the suspect. Despite all the activity at his residence, Mr. Ferryman, who suffered from mental illness, “acted like nothing was going on, and we had difficulty even knowing where he was because he had all of the curtains closed,” the featured speaker said.

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After a shoot-out by law enforcement that lasted about 30 seconds, a ceasefire was ordered. It was a few moments later that Officer Blum observed a muzzle flash from the gunman’s shotgun, and then he realized that he had been hit. 

“It knocked me down and onto my side. It was the worst pain I’d ever experienced in my life and ever since then. At first I thought I’d lost my arm.”

He said he crawled away from the line of fire because he knew that he needed immediate medical attention. A MedFlight helicopter was called and he was transported to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton for treatment. 

“So many things were going through my mind,” he said of the helicopter ride. “I was thinking of my wife and children back home, and that this is not how it’s supposed to end.

“It got pretty scary during the helicopter ride because after awhile, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.”

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