Officers reminded of importance of bulletproof vests after shooting in Aiken

Bulletproof vests
Officers in Aiken were reminded just how much of a lifesaver bulletproof vests can be after a shooting Tuesday night that left one police officer dead and another injured. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 21, 2011)
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011

AIKEN, S.C. -- Posted along a well-traveled hallway inside North Augusta Public Safety is the vest that saved the life of one of their own.

"It serves as a reminder to our officers," said Lt. Tim Thorton. "He was shot multiple times, but the shot that would have done the most harm hit him in the chest."

Officer James Turner survived a would-be fateful December day 18 years ago.

This December, another officer's life was also spared.

"There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the vest saved his life," said Capt. Troy Elwell of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

Travis Griffin, 28, survived Tuesday's shooting thanks to his bulletproof vest. His fellow brother in uniform, Scott Richardson, lost his life in the gunfire after a bullet struck him in his head.

The news has devastated the CSRA's law enforcement community.

"It doesn't matter the department but this hit close to home," Elwell said.

Although many here in uniform are feeling the pain of losing one of their own, they're also grateful that a life was spared.

And as officers strap up in the upcoming weeks -- and even months -- they will be whispering prayers for the officer whose life was saved and for the officer who gave the ultimate sacrifice.