MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Key Biscayne officer who was shot in the face on the Florida Turnpike nearly two weeks spoke publicly about the day that changed her life for the first time on Thursday.
Officer Nelia Real was off-duty and headed home on the Turnpike on May 10th when she saw a car crash near the Hollywood Boulevard exit. When she stopped to help, she had no idea what was waiting for her.READ MORE: Kraken Beat Panthers 4-1, Deny Florida Home-Ice Win Record
“I play the scene back a lot in my head,” Officer Real said.
As soon as Officer Real stopped, she saw David Bradley holding a gun. Bradley had been involved in a carjacking and robbery in Pembroke Pines before he crashed a stolen vehicle on the Turnpike.
“It felt like it was a possessed person,” Officer Real said. “For me, it was a crash, a fatality. I didn’t even get a chance to get out of my car. It was just so fast.”
Bradley opened fire on Real, hitting her in the neck/jaw and also hit Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Gabriel Martinez who had also stopped when he saw the wreck. Martinez was hit in the arm.READ MORE: Officials: Man On American Airlines Flight From Guatemala Hitched Ride To Miami Inside Plane's Landing Gear
Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Osvaldo Petitfrere saw what happened and immediately rushed Officer Real to the hospital.
“If he wouldn’t have been there, I wouldn’t be here today. I would have bled to death,” Officer Real said. “He’s my hero.”
The violent crime spree ended when Bradley, who walked past startled, grid-locked motorists, shot and killed himself.
Officer Real said the community’s support helped her pull through the shooting. She also said she received get well cards from some very unexpected people.
“I even received a card from a person that I arrested,” Officer Real said. “So that tells you right there.”
Even in the midst of the recovery from the shooting, Officer Real said she’s moving on and even forgiving the man who almost took her life.MORE NEWS: Miami Weather: Cooler And Drier Air Set To Move Into South Florida
“I’m a Christian, so I forgive him, that’s all I can say,” said Officer Real. “If not, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”