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Wife of deputy gunned down speaks publicly

Emily Dewey speaks of her husband Chris, a Mahnomen County sheriff's deputy who suffered gunshot wounds while on duty. Staff photo

FARGO - Emily Dewey is vigilant of her husband Christopher's recovery from the gunshot wounds he suffered last week while on duty as a Mahnomen County sheriff's deputy.

"I want everyone to see how amazing he's doing, but I'm very protective," Dewey said earlier today, adding that she tells her husband to rest and that she's worried about him picking up an infection.

Emily Dewey also wants Christopher to concentrate on the road to recovery, so she has yet to share much of the details with him surrounding the Feb. 18 shooting in Mahnomen that landed him in the hospital.

"He knows he's been shot - all we tell him is that we got 'em and no one else was hurt," she said. " 'You're doing awesome.' "

Christopher Dewey was shot in the head and abdomen while investigating reports of a possible drunken driver and shots fired. His shooting resulted in a nearly nine-hour standoff with more than 100 law enforcement officers before two men, one of which is suspected of being the gunman, surrendered.

Now Dewey's recovering at Fargo's MeritCare Hospital, where he was listed in satisfactory condition, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday evening.

Dewey's recovery has been chronicled on the Web site since last week. A 5:19 p.m. Wednesday entry says Dewey will be treated for a blood clot found in his leg. Doctors will put a filter in to prevent the clot from reaching his lungs, the entry states.

"I'm amazed every minute I'm with him," Emily Dewey said during Wednesday's interview. "(Christopher's) in so much pain, but he's got his humor, his spirit, his personality and his memory."

On Tuesday, for example, a speech therapist asked Christopher Dewey for the date and he replied it was "the 24th. I looked at the speech therapist - I didn't know what the date was," Emily Dewey said.

She also discussed the past tumultuous week she, her husband and those close to them endured for the first time Wednesday - one week since she heard the report of shots fired at an officer over a police scanner at home while she was getting ready for nursing school.

"I didn't want it to be my husband, but I knew it was him," she said.

Emily Dewey then sent a text message to a nursing school classmate saying she would not be at school that day. She also hesitated to call the sheriff's office because the dispatchers were busy relaying data to officers, which included calling for an ambulance helicopter.

"My mom now regrets buying me the scanner, but I always wanted to know," Emily Dewey said of whatever scanner traffic came over the airwaves.

"If it happens, it happened for a reason, and I haven't figured it out yet."

The two men involved in the shooting that injured Christopher Dewey each face more than 15 charges. Thomas Lee Fairbanks, 32, faces 22 charges, including counts of first- and second-degree attempted murder; and Daniel Kurt Vernier, 27, faces 17 charges.

Both men face a court appearance Thursday in Mahnomen.

Emily Dewey said she believes Fairbanks and Vernier ultimately will be punished for the incident. "Of course I'm angry with them ... I believe they'll be taken care of."

By 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dewey's CaringBridge page was visited more than 83,200 times and had scores of well-wishes from family, friends, fellow law enforcement officers and strangers.

"CaringBridge has been so cathartic for me," Emily Dewey said. "I sit and scroll through that, and I just bawl: but it's a good, it's a happy cry, and I need that - I'm sick of sad crying."