NC deputy thought he was going to die. His shooter says, ‘Sorry will never suffice.’

Mario Garza III pleaded guilty Wednesday to shooting a Harnett County sheriff’s deputy in the face and chest, a crime he committed as a troubled teenage runaway.

Garza will serve 13 to 16 years in prison, getting credit for nearly two years in jail since the 2018 shooting.

Sgt. Eric Cook stood and told the court the bullet passed through his face and under his eye, requiring intense surgery and frightening his daughter badly enough she was scared to look at him.

He recalled approaching the 16-year-old Garza in Cameron, touching him on the bicep and falling over from the force of a .45-caliber blast.

“As I fell to the ground,” he said, “I remember thinking ‘I often wondered how am I going to die. Now I know.”

Cook returned to duty last year, reporting no pain, few scars and a slight ache in his ankle when the weather changes.

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Garza stood and apologized.

“There’s no words that could ever express how remorseful I feel,” he said. Sorry will never suffice.”

This is a breaking news story that will be updated as more information becomes available.

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