Aberdeen officer still recovering from 2015 shooting

Disability taking toll on family
Posted at 11:04 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 19:10:23-04
We've all heard how police officers put their lives on the line every time they answer a call, and Officer Jason Easton of the Aberdeen Police Department had accepted that risk when an armed suspect ambushed him while concealed in some woods in December of 2015.
"He shot at me with a .410 shotgun,” recounted Easton. “I took like 26 pellets... bird shot... to the face and two to the hand, and one went straight through my left eye."
Hours later, police tracked down the gunman, 21-year-old Tyler Testerman, but the damage had been done.
"It's a sad day for us at the police department,” said Police Chief Henry Trabert at the time. “We're a close-knit police department and we're hoping that he will recover very fast and will recover completely."
But with one pellet still lodged in the back of his eye, multiple surgeries have left Easton virtually blind in that eye.
"If you get like right about here, I can see just a little bit of shadow movement," he tells us as he places a hand about three inches from his eye.
It is a disability that has taken its toll on Easton's wife and four children.
He says the police department has no place for him to return to limited duty, he's no longer getting a paycheck and recently his injury was designated as a non-catastrophic injury, so his medical retirement would only pay him a third of his salary.
"It's been very stressful at times,” said Easton’s wife, Sandi, “We felt very supported at times, and we felt very alone at times.  It just depends on the day."
In a written statement, the Aberdeen Police Department says it stands by Officer Easton and his family while he continues to heal, and it notes that his retirement process is a personnel matter that is active and ongoing.
For his part, the injured officer is thankful for the support from others.
"We've had friends, co-workers, community people, people we don't even know," said Easton.
But he can't ignore the fact that his family has become a charity case, since he was shot in the line of duty.
"It was like, 'I hate to think this way, but you guys would have been better off if I would have died.'"
Easton plans to challenge the ruling on his condition, and if it's deemed he suffered a catastrophic injury, he would get two-thirds of his police salary in disability payments.
A fundraiser has been established to help the Easton family. Click here to help.