ST. LOUIS — Four days after a tearful St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden told reporters a 25-year-old officer was in critical, unstable condition following a shooting, doctors removed Colin Ledbetter from a ventilator.
Then, he told them his name, asked for some water, and asked if he could get out of bed, according to his father, Steve Ledbetter.
“Yes, it is a miracle,” Steve Ledbetter told 5 On Your Side.
The three-and-a-half-year veteran of the force was shot Wednesday following a pursuit with a homicide suspect. Another officer was shot in the leg. A third officer killed the homicide suspect. And two other men who were in the suspect’s car are now facing multiple charges.
The officer who was shot in the leg was released from the hospital Sunday.
With every hour that has passed since then, Ledbetter’s condition seems to be improving, his father said.
He’s had multiple surgeries.
He said his son was shot twice.
“The bullet that did the real damage was in the groin,” he said. “It hit the femoral artery.
“That is why he lost blood so fast. He was also shot in the foot.”
Doctors have kept Colin Ledbetter sedated, but at 2 a.m. Sunday, he waved, nodded, wiggled his toes and “generally showed off for us on FaceTime,” his father said.
“It’s still too early to tell what final prognosis will be,” he said. “We’re praying for continued miracles and see improvement.”
His family has not been able to be at his bedside due to COVID restrictions at the hospital beyond visiting hours. He is now considered to be in serious condition, no longer critical, according to his father.
Steve Ledbetter said the police department has had an officer stationed with his son around the clock, and that officer held Ledbetter’s phone so his family could see him beginning to show signs of improvement.
He’s only saying a few words at a time and remains heavily sedated, according to his father.
“We do want everyone to know how amazing it is and what the EMTs did is a big part of that,” Steve Ledbetter said. “There was also officers who carried Colin to the ambulance and one officer who rode with them to the hospital while helping the EMTs. They are all a part of this. The doctors, the nurses and staff at Barnes are also part of it.”
Steve Ledbetter said all his family needs from the community right now is prayers, not just for his son, but for his fellow officers.
“These officers do this every day and rarely is anyone shot,” he said. “After Wednesday, the officers Colin works with stayed with us, supported us, and showed us love.
“Their next shift they went to work. They’ll do it every day. The public needs to know how good those officers are. This is a rare example. Please support and pray for these officers who continue to do the job after seeing the worst scenario. They need us as much as we need them.”