HOUSTON - Veteran Houston Police officer Ronny Cortez didn't think twice when he confronted a burglar that had struck multiple homes in his neighborhood.
"The next thing I know I hear a couple gunshots," said Cortez.
That moment changed his life.
"The first bullet hit me in my spine, after that I couldn't move at all," said Cortez.
On that February day, Cortez was rushed to the hospital. His wounds left him unable to walk or feel his body from the chest down. One of the bullets was lodged in his spine.
He spent seven months at TIRR Memorial Hermann. Three hours of therapy a day. His wife of more than 20 years never left his side.
"She jumped right in there, she took care of everything, and I love her to death for that," said Cortez.
Sheri Cortez was right there when her husband was shot. She heard the shots and just remembers screaming in the street.
"I'm able to talk to him, I can hear his heart beating," said Sheri. "It means a lot to have him here with me."
Just last month came a milestone. Surgeons finally removed the bullet from his back. And this week he returned home and for the first time he's opening up about his long road to recovery.
"I'm going to have to stop something that I love to do, like being a police officer," said Cortez.
Seven months later and emotions are still raw.
"To some people it's a job, to others it's a calling," said Cortez.
And for Cortez it's no doubt a calling. He says he'd respond to that same burglary call all over again.
"Any day, no questions asked," said Cortez.
No hesitation from a man who bleeds blue and misses being out on the streets. He says one of the hardest moments was watching Harvey unfold from his hospital bed.
"I'm used to being out there during hurricanes and storms, and here I am trapped in a hospital bed, I can't do anything, can't help nobody," said Cortez.
Cortez doesn't believe in quitting and neither does his wife. Both have no doubt, he will walk again.
"I won't give up, I'll fight until the end," said Cortez.
© 2017 KHOU-TV