When Odessa Police Department Corporal Gary Potter left his house on Monday morning, two days after a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage that left seven dead and 25 wounded, he was surprised to find a handwritten note and some flowers left on his squad car.
“I do not know you and you do not know me, but I thank you for your sacrifice,” the note read. “You put your life on the line every day to protect our community. I cannot express how grateful I am. Thank you so much.”
It was signed “Sincerely, Bria Montes.”
Montes, an employee at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, experienced the devastation of Saturday’s shooting firsthand.
She told KOSA-TV that she was so full of gratitude for the officers who risked their lives to bring a stop to the bloodshed and this was the least she could do.
“These officers are just selflessly going in there, trying to get all these people that are injured,” she said. “Getting all these people that are hurt and trying to stop this person as well.”
Montes could have never guessed just how close to home her note would hit. Potter was out of town during the shooting when his wife and daughter were shot at while driving down 42nd Street. Fortunately, both emerged unscathed, though a 17-month-old baby just one car away wasn't so lucky.
Potter was so moved by Montes’ words, that he knew had to meet her. On Tuesday, the strangers met outside Medical Center Hospital where survivors are still recovering from gunshot wounds.
“That one on my car that day just, man, I needed it,” Potter told Montes. “I’d seen so much other stuff, but me and my family. My wife, my daughter appreciate it.”
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On Facebook, Potter said he’s more thankful than ever for his law enforcement family.
“This is why I will suit up tonight and hit the streets of Odessa and I can assure you that if your child, mother, father, brother, sister, or family calls I will respond with everything I have to protect them from the evil that exists,” he promised.