Meet Rob, Phoenix police officer shot in the line of duty

Rob-crop-mug-2012People’s lives can change in a split second, and those who work in public safety professions face that reality every day. Officer Rob Sitek can describe those dangers firsthand.

Rob joined the Phoenix Police force in 2001, fulfilling a life-long dream. He was on patrol in East Phoenix with his partner, Officer David Thwing, on April 12, 2003, when they tried to pull over a carjacking suspect. The suspect fled into a residential neighborhood with the two officers in pursuit. The suspect pulled out a handgun and fired at Rob, who was hit by a total of four bullets – two of them less than an inch below his protective vest. He was able to maintain his composure and contact his dispatcher about his injuries and flag down a police helicopter overhead with his flashlight.

Rob-QuoteAt the hospital, doctors removed his spleen and parts of his colon and small intestine. He lost the equivalent of all the blood in his body five times and received a total of 148 transfusions – 93 red cell, 43 plasma and 12 platelet transfusions.

Rob is thankful for talented surgeons and blood donors who saved his life. “I applaud people who give blood regularly,” he said, “because their donations were available to my doctors when I was severely injured and needed it most.”

Rob-popFollowing 18 months of grueling rehabilitation, Rob returned to duty in the Advanced Training Bureau. He worked in the air support unit before transferring to the Reserve Division of the Phoenix Police Department in 2008.  Rob and his wife, Gretchen, were married in November 2008 and reside in Mesa.