PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - In 2015 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer David Brady found himself fighting to survive in the middle of the St. Andrews Bay. With two gunshot wounds, Brady was struggling to stay afloat.
Two and a half years after the harrowing experience, Brady still finds it difficult to revisit the site where he almost died.
"I just went into survival mode," Brady said. "It brings back memories, it does."
What should have been a routine stop near the St. Andrews pass turned into a fight for his life.
In August 2015, Brady was shot twice after stopping Samuel Reager and Lachlan Akins. The two were on a sailboat.
"I was just making sure, just telling them to stay off the property and that was it," Brady explained.
In a moment, things changed.
Brady says Reager pulled a gun on him. He tells us he jumped overboard and Reager started shooting at him.
Struggling to tread water and wounded, Brady says he didn't know what would happen next.
"I was scared, real scared. I didn't know how bad I was shot," Brady said. "I know I was hurting. When I was in the water, I was coughing up blood so I really didn't know what was, [sic] how bad my injuries were."
Akins and Reager took off on Brady's Boat. Coast Guardsmen would later rescue Brady.
A month after the shooting Brady was back at his post, a decision that didn't come easy.
"It was soul searching, I mean we talked to the family," Brady. "My wife really didn't want me to come back, but she knows I love this job."
In February, Reager was convicted of attempted first-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison.
Brady hopes the sentencing next month will bring closure.
"I really hope he gets the max, the max sentencing, which is 25 to life. I mean he, his goal that day was to kill me and he failed," Brady said. "So, it was a good day and a bad day. I actually got to go home that night."
Brady says seeing his family after the incident was an emotional experience with a lot of tears, something he says he never wants to go through again.
We asked Brady what he would say to people who may be considering a career in law enforcement in light of the shooting. He says to remain vigilant and remember that nothing is routine.