Police Officer Paul Sulock does not believe he is a hero.
In fact, he felt a bit uncomfortable during a benefit held Sunday afternoon in his honor at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.
“I don’t think I deserve this benefit, to be honest,” said Sulock, 31, of Northeast Philadelphia. “I’m alive. I’m going to be back to work.”
Sulock, a 10-year police veteran, was hit twice by gunfire Nov. 7 when he and his partner came across a shootout while they were on patrol in Kensington. Fellow officers rushed Sulock to the hospital.
“He’s very lucky to be here today,” FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby said. “This could (have) very well been a benefit for a fallen officer. It’s as simple as that.”
Sulock told the Times that a bullet went through his right thigh and nicked an artery. A fragment also hit him in the right calf. He has been experiencing some numbness in his right leg.
“They said if it doesn’t come back within six months, it’s probably going to stay like that because the nerves were probably severed,” said Sulock, who is married with four children.
Still, the recovery is going well, he said. Doctors recently removed the stitches, and he has been able to bend his leg again. On Sunday, he was walking around the FOP Lodge like someone who wasn’t shot less than a month ago.
Sulock said he will soon begin physical therapy, and he hopes to return to work in January or February.
“I love going to work every day,” he said. “I enjoy this job.”
Sulock declined to discuss the specifics of the shooting due to the pending criminal case.
Two men were arrested and charged in connection with the incident. The District Attorney’s Office last month said testimony and video evidence show Jerome Hill, 29, of Olney, fired multiple shots at Sulock and another officer. James Gauthney, 19, of East Germantown, was also charged in the case.
Preliminary hearings for both men are scheduled for January.
Police said Sulock and his partner came upon an armed altercation around 11 a.m. near G and Madison streets. As they were trying to break up the shootout, Sulock was shot in the leg and continued to pursue and apprehend a suspect, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said last month.
Sulock was praised by police and city officials for his bravery and heroism, but he has trouble imagining himself that way.
“I’m alive,” he said. “The real heroes are the officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, heroically losing their lives, and then our military guys overseas. They’re the real heroes.”
“I was just doing my job, doing a job that I actually love doing,” Sulock added. ••