To mark the beginning of the Special Olympics Arizona, four members of the Peoria Police Department’s Honor Guard took to the field.
The officers stood at attention Friday as the national anthem played, but all eyes were on one veteran cop in particular. It was a momentous occasion for Investigator William “Bill” Weigt, who was standing for the first time in nearly 14 years, after having been shot in the line of duty in an incident that left him paralyzed.
Weigt was shot while pursuing a suspect two weeks before Christmas in 2005.
“It was a drug deal gone bad,” Weigt told KPHO-TV. “Suspect just got out of his vehicle and started shooting.”
Weigt was hit in the shoulder, just above his vest. The bullet hit a rib and ricocheted down his spine, leaving him unable to ever walk again.
But thanks to a new wheelchair, the Permobil F5 power chair, Weigt can now stand.
"I'd been wanting to stand for the national anthem for 14 years," Weigt, a former United States infantry soldier, told TODAY. "I was a little overwhelmed at first, but it was so exciting."
Weigt proudly presented the American flag during the opening ceremony.
“When everything hushed and the drums started, I’m telling you, everything just went right into place,” Weigt told KPHO-TV.
After the games, Olympians surrounded Weigt for hugs and photos. He happily posed with everyone, including his own nephew Andrew, who won two gold medals in swimming.
“That was probably the most special thing," Weigt said of being able to connect with the event’s participants.
“Of course, I would like to go and get my body back, but I can't, so I make the best of what I've got," he continued. "And I have a really great life.”