Even though he was recovering from a gunshot wound, Delaware State Trooper Richard Deskis was still able to find humor in the situation when he received a hospital visit from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.
"I'd salute you if I could," the 44-year-old trooper said.
It was a lighthearted moment during a frightening day for the Troop 1 member and 17-year veteran. Deskis was shot while in the line of duty.
Police say the ordeal began around 4 p.m. after Deskis and other officers responded to E 24th Street and N Market Street in Wilmington after Wilmington Police called for assistance. The officers were investigating a suspicious vehicle, which officials say contained what appeared to be stolen merchandise from retail stores.
Investigators say Deskis was speaking with a woman in connection to the vehicle when gunshots rang out from an unknown location by an unidentified gunman. A bullet struck Deskis in the right arm.
"I heard people hollering, 'they shot him, they shot him, they shot the police!'" said witness Doris Lacewell.
Investigators say several officers rushed to Deskis' side with weapons drawn and shielded him, taking cover behind his cruiser. They then radioed for help.
"We have one trooper shot, shot on the arm!" said one officer on police radio. "They do not have a suspect or where the shots were fired."
Police from several departments converged at the scene and created a 10-block perimeter around the area. The suspicious vehicle, a black Sedan as well as a white Dodge minivan were later towed away after more investigators arrived at the scene. Witnesses also say the woman who was initially interviewed was eventually let go.
"After the shooting started and everything, they took the handcuffs off her and told her to go," said Erica Beatty, another witness.
Deskis was taken to Christiana Hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. While at the hospital, he received a visit from Markell.
"He was totally, totally lucid," Markell said. "On top of things. He did not seem to be in extraordinary pain."
Deskis was later released around 8 p.m. and returned home to be with his family.
He told NBC10 Thursday that he was thankful for all the well wishes and support.
"I just thank God that something that could've been a whole lot worse, wasn't a whole lot worse," Markell said.
No suspect was named. Police interviewed several people overnight about the incident but all were released.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Det. Millard Greer at 302-741-2728.