FORTVILLE — Just two months after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds during a traffic stop, a Fortville officer is back on the job.
Matt Fox, 30, of Greenfield, is assigned to desk duty for now, but coming back to the office marks a significant step in his recovery.
“My physicians all said they weren’t expecting me back even on desk duty until after January, February, probably,” Fox said at the Fortville Police Department Tuesday.
Fox was shot several times, once in the forehead, after a short car chase with an Indianapolis man Fox had pulled over for having a broken tail light July 27.
While Fox is grateful to be back in uniform, the memory of the shooting haunts him.
“It’s always still in the back of my head,” Fox said. “I will never forget. That’s for sure.”
The suspect, James “Skip” Lockhart III, 27, was shot and killed after exchanging gunfire with responding officers. Marijuana packaged for sale was later found in his car.
Fox is hopeful he’ll be back on patrol early next year. For now, though, he is relegated to paperwork, including taking down citizen reports and information for gun permits.
Fox said Tuesday he is not nervous about returning to his patrol duties, though he knows that might change.
“Maybe when the date comes back, maybe a little bit,” he said.
Fortville Town Marshal Mark Lyons is glad to see Fox back in the office – Fox is all citizens have been asking about for the past two months, he said – but behind a desk is not where Fox is most needed.
“Get him back on the road, quick,” Lyons said with a laugh. “We’re a little short-handed.”
The Fortville Police Department is especially stretched for manpower with Fox and another officer, Sgt. Derek Shelley, on light duty.
Shelley is recovering from a nonwork-related shoulder injury.
Also eagerly awaiting Fox’s recovery is his drug-sniffing dog, Lannie, a yellow lab who makes herself at home in the police department while her master recovers.
Fox is now in rehabilitation three days per week. Currently, the focus is on regaining full use of his left hand.
Fox still has at least one surgery to undergo, which he hopes will happen in November. Doctors will rebuild part of his left pinky finger, which still is not functioning normally.
He is expected to make a full recovery.