An Upper Darby police officer shot four times last week lifted his shirt and turned his back to reporters at a news conference Wednesday morning, revealing palm-sized purple and yellow bruises and a nickel-sized gash where one of the bullets entered his back.
Ray Blohm, 31, a 10-year veteran of the police force, was shot early Friday morning while trying to apprehend Marvin Marmolejos, 27, at Copley Road and Ludlow Street near the 69th Street Terminal.
"The whole thing happened so fast," Blohm said. "There was concern for my family, my wife and kids. 'Am I gonna get through this?' And training kicked in, and just, no time to think, just reacted immediately."
Marmolejos, who was drinking from an open container and milling around a known drug-selling area, walked away when Blohm approached on foot. Blohm threatened to use a Taser if Marmolejos did not stop.
That's when Marmolejos wheeled around and fired at Blohm with a .22-caliber handgun, hitting him twice in the lower back as Blohm turned to duck behind a vehicle.
"I heard all the shots being fired, I felt pain immediately in both lower sides of my back," Blohm said.
Blohm fired back, hitting Marmolejos four times in his leg, arm and back. Then Blohm chased Marmolejos, who ran up Copley Road, finally collapsing in the unit block.
"I didn't want him to hurt anybody else," Blohm said about chasing Marmolejos. "I knew there would be officers responding to assist me and my fear was that he would hurt somebody else."
He added, "I went to make sure I got him off the streets."
One bullet severed a wire on his portable radio and hit his thumb. A second traveled through Blohm's right lower back, shattering a vertebrae before lodging in his left side, where it will likely remain for good, Blohm said. Another pierced his gun belt and traveled into his lower back, leaving a blacked, nickel-shaped wound.
A bullet headed for the back side of Blohm's heart and lungs was stopped by his vest. The bullet left a small hole in the vest and a reddish bruise over his upper back on the left side.
"If not for the vest, that would be a fatal wound," said Capt. George Rhoades, who is investigating the case.
Marmolejos was charged with attempted homicide, assault, drug possession, and other counts. He is being held at the Delaware County jail in lieu of $1 million cash bail.
Blohm, a father of two girls aged 3 and 5, walked gingerly Wednesday and said the shattered backbone is painful. He said doctors expect to remove one of the two bullets in his back on Friday. But he doesn't yet know when he'll return to work.
"My wife, it's been tough on her, I can tell she's been stressed and tired," he said. "There's just definitely some healing that needs to be done, not just physically, but mentally, before I can go back out there and do it."