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New Documentary To Feature Wounded Officer James Kuzak

By Jessica Berardino
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Source: NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) Mike Pintek
Mike Pintek loves Pittsburgh, but being a “D” student in geography...
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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – On Saturday, April 5, Drusky Entertainment and Trib Total Media will present to the City of Pittsburgh, “Heroes Behind the Badge – Sacrifice and Survival” at the Hyundai West Club Lounge at Heinz Field.

Doors open at 6 p.m., and the documentary begins at 7 p.m. General admission tickets in advice are priced for $10 and at the door the price will be $15. All proceeds of the showing will benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Heroes Behind the Badge is the second installment of an inspiring documentary series that travels nationwide telling the true-life stories of the men and women working in law enforcement. The movie will take its viewers across the country to places like New York City’s 9/11 Memorial site and to National Police Week in Washington DC.

One hero in the movie is Officer James Kuzak who was shot at five times and wounded three times during a disturbance call in Clariton almost three years ago.

The first bullet went through his right forearm, then another in to his left armpit and the fourth bullet was the one that broke through the bulletproof vest and went in to his spine.

Kuzak explained the experience in detail and says that after the first muzzle flash, he experienced auditory exclusion. This is where your body reverts all its energy to healing and protecting itself and you lose all your fine motor skills and can only function at a basic level. He says he lost his hearing and everything around him slowed down, all he could feel was the warm pool of blood surrounding his body as he lay on the ground.

“At that point, I saw a foot – two feet walk over me – and I knew it was the people shooting at me and I figured at this point they’re going to finish me off,” said Kuzak. “So I turned my head away and waited for it, but it never came, thankfully. So I just laid there trying to anticipate what I needed to do. I couldn’t locate my weapon, my microphone from my radio had been shot off of my chest by one of the rounds so I couldn’t contact dispatch. So I just kinda got the deepest breath I could and yelled out I was hit.”

To this point, Officer Kuzak’s partners had been chasing the suspects on foot and immediately stopped and came back to his rescue. Today, they can joke that they caused his second head impact when they put him down in the front yard for treatment. One of his partners was also an EMT and was able to begin treating his injuries.

The film is produced in partnership with Craig Floyd and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, directed by British Academy Award-winning filmmaker Wayne Derrick and narrated by Law & Order’s Vincent D’Onofrio.

Promoter and owner of Drusky Entertainment, Brian Drusky, explains that this movie is meant to reveal the day-to-day lives of police officers and the struggles they face. The officers in the film will give an inside look at what they go through while recovering from life-threatening injuries.

“We’re bringing it to town to make people aware of what’s going on, what’s happening, what can happen with your police officers everyday, and how it affects people and their lives,” said Drusky. “Officer Kuzak is a prime example of what he had to go through in his plight of going on with everything on a day-to-day basis.”

Drusky Entertainment is very pro-police officers, Drusky remarks that law enforcement is close to his heart. The group is also responsible for the past fundraiser, “Fallen Not Forgotten.”

City of Pittsburgh Police Officer Keith Stover played an intricate role in Officer Kuzaks involvement in the film. Stover explained that after the deaths of three officers, prior to Kuzak’s injuries, his son had trouble sleeping if he was at work.

Stover emotionally explains that deaths not only hurt the family and friends closest to the deceased but to the family of everyone around them too. His son was too worried and upset that his dad would not come home one night, so he stayed up and waited for him.

“I want to say that the range of emotions during the funerals, we went to the funeral homes for two of the guys in the city, and their family’s are unbelievably strong,” said Stover. “I don’t know where they got that strength from. You know, I’m sure they went through a private hell, but those days they were very strong people. I don’t know if I could have done it.”

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