Harper County Undersheriff Shot On Thanksgiving Making Progress

More surgeries, including skin grafts, are expected for Painter before he goes to rehabilitation. His parents plan to remain at the hospital until he's discharged. 

Monday, November 28th 2022, 6:41 pm

By: Chris Yu


Doctors are becoming more optimistic that they can save the leg of Harper County's undersheriff after he was shot on Thanksgiving. 

Travis Painter is being treated at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City while his parents, Tommy and Kim Painter, remain at his bedside. 

Painter and deputies responded to the 100 block of Walnut Drive in Buffalo at about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 24 because a man with a shotgun was trying to enter a building, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The suspect walked away, but the deputies later encountered him at a nearby intersection, the OSBI said. The gunman then opened fire on the deputies, hitting Painter. The deputies returned fire, killing the gunman, said the OSBI. 

Both of Painter's legs were hit, said Tommy Painter. Doctors had to remove multiple bone fragments from his right leg and used pins, plates and screws to repair it. But his left leg fared much worse: a roughly 5-inch section of the leg's artery was destroyed. 

"We were just thunderstruck," Tommy Painter said. "I've seen the injuries on both legs and I can't even think of a proper word to describe them. Horrific doesn't even accurately describe. They are just awful." 

Because of the weather conditions that morning, Painter could not be airlifted. As a result, due to his ruptured artery, his lower leg had no blood supply for about 11 hours, his father said.  

"The only thing I wished I could take his pain away," said Kim Painter. "He's a tough kid. He can take a lot of pain. And he told me, he said, 'Mom, this is the worst pain I've ever experienced ever in my life.' And he said, 'it's taken a toll on me.'" 

Sunday afternoon, Painter underwent vascular surgery in which veins were taken from his right leg and sewed onto the damaged artery in his left leg, his parents explained. The hope was that if the repaired artery could remain intact 24 hours after the procedure, the chances of saving Painter's left leg would be better. 

At 4 p.m. Monday, that 24-hour milestone was reached, and Tommy Painter said doctors are more optimistic that they can save his son's left leg rather than amputate it. 

"He is improving with each hour that passes by," said Tommy Painter. "His spirits are good." 

Despite his serious injuries, Painter, being a single father, has his two teenage daughters on his mind. 

"His daughters, they have to go to school each day in Buffalo. They're a long way away and he's very worried and concerned about their care," said Tommy Painter. 

More surgeries, including skin grafts, are expected for Painter before he goes to rehabilitation. His parents plan to remain at the hospital until he's discharged. 

"His last words when I left the (hospital) room a while ago was, 'You make sure and tell Harper County I will be back,'" Tommy Painter recalled. 

Painter's sister created a GoFundMe page to help him and his two daughters. Click here to make an online donation. 

In addition, donations can be sent to Tommy and Kim Painter, PO Box 235, Buffalo, Oklahoma 73834. The money can help pay for lodging and other unexpected expenses. 

Furthermore, the Harper County Sheriff's Office is working to set up a mail train and an account for donations at Oklahoma State Bank. 

Finally, cards can be sent to Painter at OU Medical Center, 700 NE 13th St., ICU Trauma Rm. #2025, Oklahoma City, OK, 73104. 


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