DALLAS -- A Dallas police officer who was shot Feb. 15 in a hail of bullets continues to recover in Baylor University Medical Center and faces a long road to recovery.

Doctors removed a bullet from Officer Joshua Burns' back late last week, said Richard Todd, president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police.

'He's very thankful that he's still alive,' Todd said Monday. 'It's going to be a long time before he's a 100 percent.'

Authorities have said Burns was shot when he and Officer Salvador Varillas responded to a domestic incident at an apartment complex at 13030 Audelia Road in Northeast Dallas. The suspect, who authorities later identified as Rakeem Perkins, began firing at the officers as they approached. Perkins then fled on foot, police said.

'The bottom line is that this person attacked two Dallas police officers and tried to kill them,' Todd said.

One bullet slammed into Burns' bulletproof vest, bruising his chest. A second hit him in the leg. A third hit him in the shoulder.

'The one in the shoulder went in and down his back and broke five ribs,' Todd said. That bullet narrowly missed the officer's spine, he said.

One of Burns' lungs collapsed while he being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Doctors had to put a tube in his lungs to prevent fluid from building up and to help him breathe.

In the beginning, it was touch and go. Word quickly spread around the department that Burns wasn't going to survive. Later that day, the department issued a statement saying the officer's injuries were not life-threatening.

Department officials have credited the officer's bulletproof vest, as well as the fellow officers applying a tourniquet to his leg, with helping save the officer's life.

Todd said the department's description of the injuries as non life-threatening gave the public the impression that Burns wasn't as badly injured as he was.

'The amount of damage that that was done - especially by the one that entered his back - it's just extremely serious,' Todd said. 'I'm not real happy with the way it's been portrayed -- downplayed, so to speak.'

Perkins turned himself in hours after the shooting. He is currently being held in the Dallas County jail on two counts of aggravated assault on a public servant. Bail is set at $2 million.


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