Salina officer speaks after losing his eye in a shootout

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SALINA, Kansas — A Salina police officer who lost his eye in a shootout last September is now back on duty.

Officer Chuck Huen was one of several officers fired upon after entering a home where 19-year-old Marijon Gadson was barricaded in the basement.

Since then, Huen has taken a fair amount of the spotlight and was timid going on camera during our interview.

But you’ll see, he warmed up to the idea of sharing his story with the community who so strongly supported him when he needed it most.

“I don’t like anyone telling me I can’t do something,” says Salina Police Officer Chuck Huen.

So when a doctor told him he wouldn’t return to the job he loves, Huen said.

“I wasn’t really happy with that decision.”

So Huen did some research and gave the police department a list of 20 officers and FBI agents who were in the same dilemma, working active duty.

“They changed their outlook on it a bit and came up with a decision that if I could prove I can do my job like everyone else can then I can come back to work,” explains Huen.

He went out to the pistol re-qualification range, and the law enforcement academy to re-certify, and passed.

“They may have decided I wasn’t going to give up. I’m pretty stubborn,” says Huen.

Immediately after the shooting, Huen says he had trouble seeing in the dark, which worried him about his future on the police force.

“Research said most of that would correct itself and it has.”

In fact when you look at Officer Huen, you can’t tell anything happened.

The muscles in his eye socket make his prosthetic eye move with his real eye.

“All it does is lay on the muscles that are there, and it moves when the muscles move,” he explains.

Huen says he’s dealt with the shooting as part of the job and hasn’t had any traumatic after effects.

The only time he gets choked up is when he talks of his family.

“My family is a little leery of my decision, and I’ve showed them through spending time with them that I don’t even notice it.”

He says he’s grateful to be alive to spend that time with them.

The suspect killed the night Huen was shot, doesn’t.

“I feel bad for his family. I at least get to go home for Christmas. I get to be with my family. His family doesn’t have that.”

And now Huen is back working the job he loves.

Given the all-clear to work just a day before his 39th birthday.

“My biggest concern with coming back was that all the guys were comfortable, that I wasn’t going to put them in danger. Everyone has reacted well, everybody’s glad I’m back.”

Officer Huen tells us before the shooting he had contemplated getting LASIK surgery on one of his eyes that had about 20-50 vision.

That was the eye taken in the shooting, so Officer Huen’s vision is now a perfect 20/20.

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