BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It has been more than 1,000 days since the deadly ambush on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. Three men lost their lives in July of 2016, while three others were shot and survived. Deputy Nick Tullier is one who continues to fight against all odds.
"Push this arm out to this side. Keep pushing. Keep pushing. Good. Very nice," said a physical therapist to Deputy Nick Tullier.
Tullier continues his physical therapy at TIRR in Houston, Texas. He just made 1,000 days and if you’ve followed his journey, you know that alone is a miracle.
“Doctor came out and met with us and said he won’t live for 24 hours,” said Tullier’s father, James Tullier.
“Then they are saying a week, then they are saying ten days, and now you look at it and it being 1,000 days, and that’s just unbelievable,” said Tullier’s boss, East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.
It’s people’s prayers and divine intervention that keep Tullier fighting. He was shot three times on July 17, 2016 while responding to a gunman who had killed three officers.
“It is something that I will never forget. I live with that day every day and I pray every day that it never happens again,” said Sheriff Gautreaux.
Tullier took three bullets: one to the left side of his head, another to his left shoulder, and one that entered just below the right side of his rib cage and exited through his lower back. He was rushed to Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge.
“I think it’s a testament to God and to the power of prayer because that man has had more prayer than I have ever known,” said Sheriff Gautreaux.
One hundred and twenty-two days later, Tullier moved to TIRR in Houston. He’s slowly but surely made improvements, in some cases, surprising many people, like saying the word “hello,” wishing his mom, Mary, a happy birthday by writing it out, playing thumb war, and the list goes on.
But in the past year, Tullier has battled pneumonia at least five times.
Dr. Sunil Kothari is Tullier’s doctor.
“Every time he seems to be gaining some traction from a rehabilitation point of view, he has had an episode of pneumonia, often requiring hospitalization, so I would say we are possibly at about the same place we were a year ago because of the episodes,” said Dr. Kothari.
Dr. Kothari says Tullier has not lost any ground, but hasn’t really made any progress in about a year due to pneumonia. He added that given Tullier’s traumatic brain injury, pneumonia and respiratory issues are the number one problems for patients with similar injuries.
“We do expect Nick to make progress, so we still think and believe Nick has more potential neurologically and functionally,” said Dr. Kothari.
Tullier goes through physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Some of the things he’s been doing include kicking his legs, moving his head from right to left, and he continues to walk with the help of the vector and his therapists.
“If he wants to move his arm, we may not see any movement, but there’s actually muscle activity going on,” said Dr. Kothari.
July will mark the three-year anniversary of the shooting for Tullier, and the man continues to surprise everyone by fighting through it all, be it singing two years ago or beating on a drum now.
"It is a miracle. It is a miracle and it is a testament to all of us that God is in charge. We are not in charge. We don't know what's going to happen," said Sheriff Gautreaux.
This miracle in progress has the prayers of the entire country for Tullier to continue to pull through.
Tullier’s doctor says they’re working closely with his pulmonologist and lung doctors to try to reduce the pneumonia onsets.