SUMNER – With every breath, Sumner Police Chief Dennis Cain can feel the bullet fragments left in his chest.
Nearly a month has passed since Cain was shot twice during a police chase following a bank robbery in northeast Iowa. Authorities said Cain and Iowa State Patrol Trooper Mark Domino were injured while they were chasing two men suspected of robbing the Maynard Savings Bank. Domino was shot in the arm, and he was treated and released shortly after.
The recovery is much slower for Cain who was shot in the neck, thumb and shoulder.
Cain, in his first media interview since the incident Monday, said he was in pursuit of the suspects between Sumner and Maynard on Oct. 30 when the bullets started flying. Eight or nine bullets struck his brand new 2013 police sport-utility vehicle, and two hit him.
One bullet struck Cain twice — it blew through his thumb and shoulder. The other bullet severed the carotid artery in his neck, an injury that could have killed him.
“I knew right away, as soon as I felt it going in me,” Cain said.
Bleeding heavily, Cain said he called out on his police radio that shots had been fired, slammed the SUV into park and crawled out. An Iowa Department of Transportation officer came to his aid.
“Ben Driscoll, the DOT officer out there, he applied the pressure on me and stayed with me,” Cain said. “If he wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have had a chance.”
Cain’s wife of 27 years, Tammy Cain, said she feared the worst when she saw her husband.
“When I saw him and knew what happened, you can’t help but think he’s not going to, you know — I don’t really want to say it,” Tammy Cain said.
The two men suspected in the robbery, 19-year-old William Clayton and 24-year-old Jeremiah Mumford, were captured later that day at a rock quarry outside of Frederika, about 30 miles from Maynard. Both face dozens of felony charges.
Cain faces a long, painful recovery and a lot of troubling memories. He still has dizzy spells from time to time. Through the pain and frustration, it hasn’t taken anything away from his determination to get back to work.
“I’m just going to go out there and do my job, and do my job the best I can,” Cain said. “That’s all we’re trying to do.”
Cain said the biggest things helping him through this tough time are the notes he’s getting in the mail from law enforcement officers across the country and the support from the community. Still, he knows it’ll take months before he can return to the job he loves. He’s staying involved with the department in the meantime, working on small duties like scheduling the other officers of his department.
“Slowly, slowly, trying to heal up,” Cain said.
As for the punishment for the alleged shooters, Cain said he hopes they get what they deserve. He also said he’s ready for his day in court with the two alleged bank robbers.
Mumford and Clayton each face 35 charges, including eight counts of attempted murder, eight counts of assault of a peace officer with a weapon and five counts of terrorism. They both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.