Six months after Justin Wilkers was shot in the face while on duty with the Wilmington Police Department, the officer is back on the streets.
The Wilmington Police Department held a welcome back party for Wilkers Tuesday, as the Wilmington native officially returned to work.
“It is incredible to know that there are so many people who kept my family in their thoughts and prayers,” Wilkers said. “We truly thank you. I look forward to returning to work and doing the job I signed up for—serving the city of Wilmington as a police officer.”
Wilkers was shot once in the face during a routine traffic stop on Feb. 3 in downtown Wilmington.
The three-year veteran of the police department spent several days in the hospital and had surgery to remove the bullet lodged in his jaw. Three suspects were arrested in connection with the shooting.
“On that terrible day, he displayed tremendous sheer will and determination as he fought to survive,” said Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning. “He has continued to show that determination and dedication in his remarkable return to duty in such a short period of time. We applaud the commitment, courage, and perseverance exemplified by Officer Justin Wilkers on that day and throughout his recuperation.”
In addition to Wikers returning to work, he and his partner, Corporal Kevin Murphy, and Master Corporal Brian Witte received commendations for their actions on the day of the shooting.
Officer Wilkers’ shift, the “E” Platoon, also received a distinguished unit citation for their actions.