It’s been nearly 20 years since a Tuscaloosa Police officer was shot during a traffic stop on Interstate 359 and lived to tell about it.

“I watched the bullet come out of the end of the barrel, break the glass and impact me,” said former TPD Captain Cecil Lancaster in sit down interview with WVUA 23.

The recent Dallas, Texas police shootings have amplified a hurt Lancaster has lived with for almost two decades. After surviving a gunshot wound, significant blood loss and two broken ribs, he says nothing compares to the pain of survivor’s guilt.

“The officers in Dallas that survived….they are going to have to live with the guilt. Why me? It opened a lot of old wounds. You never get over it. You get through it and you get passed it but you never get over being a victim of one of these shootings. I can just imagine the horror the officers in Dallas went through.”

After the initial terror and shock of being shot, Lancaster remembers constants that kept him alive.

”I think what pulled me through was my religion. I was begging for my life. I had a 13-year-old son and a 21-year-old daughter. I wanted to see them.”

As someone who’s experienced an attack first hand along the line of duty, Lancaster had this message and advice to the surviving Dallas police officers.

“Thank God that you are still alive and that you get to go home to your families. There’s five of them that won’t be coming home. For the officers out there on the street who do not have a strong faith base, you’ve gotta’ have something to draw from and lean on because you won’t be able to do it by yourself.”

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