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Shot three times by a man hell-bent on killing police, some feared wounded deputy Nick Tullier would only live a few days, but not his father, James. He never gave up hope.
Now five months later, his son, with the help of hospital staff, is playing a few notes on a guitar and is able to recognize his friends and family. His father calls it a miracle and said Thursday that "Christmas has definitely come early."
During a briefing with reporters in Houston Thursday, doctors said Nick is now able to move his head, his left arm, and his legs, but he does still have some paralysis and doctors caution that he still has many hurdles to overcome. He will likely remain hospitalized for many more months, they said, but one of his doctors said Nick continues to surprise him with his progress.
Tullier went into cardiac arrest after being shot last July. He was resuscitated and rushed to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. Last month, he was transferred to TIRR Memorial Hermann, a rehabilitation hospital in Houston.
James Tullier thanked President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and their personal physicians for suggesting that he look into the TIRR facility. He called it the best rehabilitation facility in the nation, made up of "the best doctors in the nation."
"Nick's got a real long way to go, we know that and understand that, but Nick's a fighter," his father said. The loving father thanked the heroes and doctors in Baton Rouge who saved his son's life and the people across the world who offered their prayers. "We definitely need those prayers to keep coming."