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‘I Just Went Down’: Live PD Trooper Recalls Life-or-Death Moment He Was Shot in Head


James Casey, a now-retired Arizona State Trooper, took the stand on Thursday, and recounted the harrowing moment he was shot in the head during a 2014 traffic stop.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said.

Ramon Bueno stands trial as the man who allegedly shot him. Casey pulled over a vehicle in which the defendant was a passenger, prosecutors said.

Despite the incident, the trooper ended up coming back. His work was eventually showcased on the A&E show Live PD. He appeared on air just over two years after being shot. (Law&Crime founder Dan Abrams is a host on Live PD. A&E partially owns Law&Crime.)

The vehicle allegedly featured heavily tinted windows. Prosecutors are placing Bueno in the backseat on the driver’s side.

Casey recounted his point-of-view on what allegedly happened on October 8, 2014. He said he pulled over the vehicle in question, but became suspicious when it seemed everyone in the car made an effort not to look at him. Casey said he found this strange.

The trooper, who retired from work in 2018, said he ran the names the people in the vehicle gave him. The men’s names didn’t come back with any information, he said. The man in the passenger side (later identified as Danny Vargas) claimed to be a “Richard Aguilar,” Casey said. The man on the driver’s side (later identified as Bueno) claimed to be “Johnny Ruiz.”

Casey testified that he tried to get the defendant’s social security number. That’s when the near-fatal incident happened.

“And the next thing I heard was an explosion,” Casey said. He testified that the last thing he saw was a “look of terror” on fellow Trooper Michael Alfano‘s face.

“I just went down,” he said.

Casey actually returned to work after multiple surgeries, but those at the scene said they thought he was going to die. Now-retired Trooper Renaldo Cruz testified to witnessing the shooting.

“I knew he was dead at that moment,” he said December 3. Cruz said that the back of Casey’s head was “mush,” and he believed that he heard the man’s final breath.

Casey would’ve agreed with his apparent prognosis.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said, adding that he a read a book 20 years ago in the military. It featured a true story about a man who got shot in the back of the head. That man discussed doing multiplication tables “to keep his mind going,” Casey said. He said he couldn’t do multiplication tables, but what he did instead was remembered the names, and pictured the faces of people he knew. “I was thinking of my wife, saying her name. My mom, and I was saying ‘mom.’ I’d see a picture of my dad; I’d say ‘dad.’ My brother; I’d say, ‘Tim.’ I was just trying to think. If I go down, and go out, I’m dead. I will never wake up.”

Five years later, he was testifying about the day he almost lost his life.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime]

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