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Liberty County deputy injured in shootout suffered 'serious damage,' wife says

Deputy Richard Whitten is seen in this undated photo released by the Liberty County Sheriff's Office on May 29, 2019.
Deputy Richard Whitten is seen in this undated photo released by the Liberty County Sheriff's Office on May 29, 2019. (LCSO)

HOUSTON – The wife of a Liberty County deputy who was injured during a shootout last week said her husband suffered “serious damage” and faces a long road to recovery.

Deputy Richard Whitten was shot in the neck Wednesday while confronting a gunman who went on a shooting rampage at a plumbing shop near Cleveland that killed two people and injured a third.

Whitten’s wife, Kami, issued a written statement Tuesday that expressed gratitude to the first responders who helped her husband the day of the shooting and the community members who have shown support in its wake.

According to the statement, the deputy was hit in the neck by a single bullet, which caused significant damage to his throat and spine.

“The trauma and damage is so extensive, at this time he only has limited range of motion on his right side,” Kami Whitten wrote. “He has very little range of motion with his neck and head.”

According to Kami Whitten, her husband has been able to speak to his family and doctors over the past couple of days.

“The majority of those conversations have been over his worry for everyone else who was involved in this horrific tragedy,” Kami Whitten wrote.

According to the statement, Kami Whitten is hopeful that her husband will be able to increase his mobility over time. 

“This will be a very long, arduous and difficult process, which will, no doubt, take a very long time,” Kami Whitten wrote.

Richard Whitten is a four-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.

Kami Whitten’s full statement

Below is the full statement from Kami Whitten as released by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

“First, to the other families of the victims from the tragic events on May 29th whereby our loved ones were targeted by another. Our hearts go out to all of you, just as yours, we know goes out to us. We are deeply saddened and our hearts are crushed by the depth of the loss and devastation our families are enduring, through no fault of our own.

“Secondly, while there is no way to know exactly how many First Responders were at the scene, whether directly in a supporting role that day, we are grateful for each and every one of you. Our hearts hurt for you and all you’ve had to see and endure as well. And yet, we know with all of our hearts, you’d have it no other way, just like my Husband Richard would not. When people are hurting and in danger, you all rise to the occasion and do whatever must be done.

“Now, as for my Husband… He was in fact shot in the neck. This single bullet has caused serious damage to his throat and spine. The trauma and damage is so extensive, at this time he only has limited range of motion on his right side. He has very little range of motion with his neck and head. Currently, he has assisted breathing and the Medical Professionals at Herman Hospital ICU are doing everything they can to make him as comfortable as they possibly can.

“Even with such devastating injuries and difficulty, over the last 48 hours he has been able to converse with us and the majority of those conversations have been over his worry for everyone else who was involved in this horrific tragedy.

“As a family, we are grateful Richard remains alive and, we are committed to ensuring he is cared for and hopefully, he is able to increase his motion and mobility, in time. This will be a very long, arduous and difficult process which will no doubt, take a very long time.

“For us the family, we are so grateful for everyone who is helping those of us affected. We’ve been informed there are those helping to bring together a Benefit on June 22nd and we are so grateful to anyone and everyone involved and who helps. We cannot begin to express how difficult a time this is for us and, for his fellow members of the Liberty Co. Sheriff’s Office. 

“In time, should his condition change in any way we will of course reach out through the proper channels to inform everyone. In closing, sincerely from the bottom of our hearts, we cannot say thank you enough for all of the support, love and prayers on behalf of Richard and the other victims.

“On a very personal note, speaking as a wife of this great man, I could not be more proud of him, his department and all the men and women who risk everything to serve and protect us all. While I may be deeply hurt by what has happened, with all of the support we are receiving and knowing the very strong heart and will of my Husband, one day… someday, this will get better. He will get better. God bless and thank you so much.”


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