‘I was hanging on for dear life’; Dayton officer shot in head speaks on recovery

DAYTON — On Sept. 21, 2021 one moment, one trigger, one bullet changed a Dayton officer’s life.

Officer Thadeu Holloway was investigating a report of a man trying to use fake money at a store.

“When he turned to face me I knew something was wrong,” Holloway said.

He said the suspect threw a punch, so he tased him.

Despite multiple requests to put his hands behind his back, Holloway said the suspect reached for a gun and shot him in the head.

“I knew I’d been shot, obviously. I fell to the ground, I never lost consciousness, I knew what happened. I knew what I had to do, so after I had returned fire, I was in my head thinking, ‘I’m going to die,’” Holloway said.

He was covered in blood and knew he had to get to the hospital fast.

>> RELATED: Dayton officer shot in head in September earns officer of the year award

“I could feel the blood spewing out of my head, I could taste the blood as it was running from my face, I could see it as it was pooling in front of me,” he recalled.

Another officer put Holloway in a cruiser and got him to Miami Valley Hospital in under four minutes; Holloway remembers it all.

His wife Amanda Holloway was home with their two girls when she got a phone call.

When she turned on Main Street and saw the street covered with police cars, she knew that wasn’t a good sign.

All she could do was wait while doctors worked on his injuries.

“The bullet hit right here on my temple, and traveled underneath the skin and then came out here,” Thadeu recalled.

Recovery has been a long and difficult process.

Holloway said he is still dealing with a traumatic brain injury, memory issues and headaches.

He also has trouble finding words, has ringing in his ear and some hearing, as well as vision loss.

>> RELATED: $1 million bond set for man accused of shooting Dayton officer in head

Law enforcement has always been a part of Thadeu and Amanda’s life.

She started as a dispatcher 19 years ago and now works in the administrative office at the Huber Heights Police Division.

Thadeu joined the National Guard in high school and got deployed three times.

He spent nine years as a Dayton police officer.

“In January I actually fought with my doctors to at least go back to work, they wanted me stay off work a little longer and I couldn’t stay off,” he said.

He’s now on light duty, 20 hours a week.

In the meantime his memories have brought him back to the night of the shooting every time an officer in our area has been shot on the job.

“Definitely brings back the night of my shooting, makes me feel guilty that I survived and some of them didn’t and it just makes me realize that how dangerous being a police officer is,” Thadeu said.

For now, he is focusing on his family

“My goal is to just be able to take care of my family, whatever that entails, you know whether it’s going back out to the streets or going a different avenue, I just want to make sure I’m still here, still able to take care of my family for you know a long time,” he said.

The man suspected of shooting Thadeu, Antwayne Lowe, remains in Montgomery County Jail.

In November Lowe pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

In June a judge said he was competent to stand trial.

Comments on this article