BOSTON — Former police officer Bob DeNapoli remembers that day he got the call on the radio in 2011 almost like it was yesterday.
Two men had robbed a jewelry store in Woburn. DeNapoli, a 17-year veteran with the Woburn Police Department, was about a mile away.
When he arrived, he pulled out his gun. Immediately, there was gunfire.
"Little did I know that he was on top my cruiser, standing on the light bar. 'Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!' That's what he was doing, trying to kill me," DeNapoli recalled.
Several bullets hit him in his head, hands and legs.
"I was down. I could see the blood pouring out of my eye and my hand's done. My leg is all shot up. I got hit a couple of times in my leg and I just couldn't move. 'I'm done. This guy has got me," DeNapoli said.
The suspects ran off.
DeNapoli would spend the next year recovering. He never returned to work and was forced to retire at 51.
"I still had tuition payments, things to pay for, my house, my car, whatever," he said. "Whatever our normal lives and bills are, I wasn't going to be able to do that now, not the way I was doing it."
Former Somerville police officer Mario Oliveira tells a similar story from 2010 while serving a warrant.
"I went to open the car door and try to get him out, during the struggle, it was darker. I didn't see a gun and I was shot point blank range," Oliveira said.
Oliveira was shot six times.
He tried returning to work but after a heart attack, he says he was forced to retire at the age of 42.
DeNapoli and Oliveira are now teaming up and fighting for a state law that would help officers who are seriously hurt in the line of duty and can't return to work.
For those still working, like Acton police officer Jon Stackhouse, it's a lifeline that is long overdue.
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