BTBuzz: Married officers beat the odds after near-fatal shooting

By Claire Coleman

Sgt. Christine Brite vividly remembers Sept. 2, 2016. She was responding to a police radio call of a suicidal man holed up with an AK-47 rifle in an RV outside his home in Parker, Colorado. Brite and her husband, Detective Dan Brite, were both members of the special weapons and tactics team, also known as SWAT. The two often were called out together, as the negotiator and operator.

After watching police vehicles swarm in and secure the area, Christine heard these words on the radio: “DB’s been shot!”

She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Christine rushed to the nearby hospital. All the while, the suspect was behind the wheel of the RV, barreling toward the hospital and firing at civilians and police, before crashing into the side of the road close to the hospital entrance. The suspect was then shot and killed by an officer.

When Christine arrived, doctors told her Dan was nearly dead. A bullet took out 30 percent of his left lung, damaged his diaphragm and stomach, and took out his entire spleen. They gave him a 1 percent chance of survival.

“I had no doubts that night that he was going to survive, because he’s a survivor,” Christine told CNN.

Christine and Dan met through mutual friends in 2001, when she was in the police academy and he was a rookie officer. They both were drawn to law enforcement and shared a love of serving their community.

Almost 16 months after his near-death incident, Dan is unable to walk on his own as a result of his injuries. Again, doctors have given him a staggering challenge: a 3 percen chance of walking on his own again. Dan is determined to overcome those odds, too.

“I don’t ever hope I’ll walk again. I know I’ll walk again,” he said.

Dan is now back on the job, helping his SWAT team from the sheriff’s office. He credits his work with helping him mentally and giving him the toughness to push through the pain. He still suffers from a collapsed lung and lead poisoning, and the bullet remains lodged in his body.

Dan credits his miraculous recovery to his wife and daughters, and their unwavering support.

“My wife: She’s the foundation of our family and what holds us all together,” he said. “She’s 10 times stronger than I would ever be.”