PARKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A Baltimore County police officer who was wounded in the line of duty last year is officially back on the job.

Officer Tabitha Hays was hit by friendly fire after responding to a call for a man with a gun at a home in Parkville on May 2, 2019. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries and spent a year recovering.

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The man with the gun, 76-year-old Robert Uhl Johnson, died after four other officers shot him. Police said the incident may have been a “suicide by cop.”

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Hays underwent five surgeries due to a number of complications.

“I think the most important thing to recognize is that our lives are very precious,” Hays said.

Her resilience has been inspiring, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said.

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“The inspiration, the role model that for officers in our department, officers across the nation, people that are interested in coming into this profession is just really hard to articulate,” she said.

Hays said she realizes her fate could have been different that day. She talked about her friend and colleague, Officer Amy Caprio, who was killed in 2018 while investigating a robbery.

Hays, a 14-year veteran of the force and fifth-generation police officer, credits her recovery to the doctors and nurses at Shock Trauma.

“We would check in with her routinely and, she would be like ,’Boss, I just want to get back,'” Capt. David Trivett recalled.

After countless hours of physical therapy and training, Hays said she’s been patiently waiting for the okay from her doctors to get back to the job she loves.

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“And I will continue fighting every day to get stronger, to get better and to keep making an impact,” she said.

Rachel Menitoff