DA talks about the moments before he was injured in ambush

Published: Nov. 29, 2018 at 6:07 PM CST
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17th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Griggers says he made eye contact with former state trooper Steve Smith, Jr., seconds before he opened fire.

Griggers was returning to work from lunch when he was injured in an ambush style attack Nov. 15. The DA reacted by reaching for his own gun, but he froze and prepared for the worst.

"You know, it's still surreal," says Griggers.

Smith was killed by law enforcement on scene after firing into the vehicle where Griggers was. The DA was rushed to a local hospital. Griggers was shot in the arm and debris cut his eye and other parts of his body. He says the only thing going through his mind on his way to the emergency room was the safety of his family.

"I was kind of panicked about getting word to them as quickly as I could because things get said and things get misunderstood and the last thing I wanted for anyone in my immediate family to think was that the worst had happened," says Griggers.

The DA could not confirm if he knew Smith, due to the ongoing investigation. He did say, however, that the shooting was unexpected.

"It was just really hard to kind of accept it, that someone had just shot you in the middle of the day of downtown Demopolis," says Griggers.

A few stitches and three days later, Griggers was back to work. The District Attorney's Office was in the middle of one of the most high-profile cases in recent years with the prosecution of former Sumter County sheriff, Tyrone Clark. Griggers says he refused to let the shooting slow him down.

"It didn't seem right to me on what had happened to kick that down the road to a later date, not knowing or realizing how much time had been spent, not by me, but by a lot of people. It was just time to get that resolved so I think it probably helped me too. It gave me something to focus on and to think about," says Griggers.

The prosecutor says he doesn't want to call his second chance at life 'luck', but considers it more like a blessing.

"Maybe perhaps with a bit more time I'll understand it better, but I'm just real blessed and thank the good Lord that he was not ready for me to go,” says Griggers.

The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation continues to handle the case.