WASHINGTON COUNTY, Minn. (WCCO) — A Washington County sheriff’s commander said he’s lucky to be alive after getting shot in the face.

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Jerry Cusick, 53, has more than 50 pellet scars across his face, neck and chest.

Cusick had been scouting a turkey-hunting location in Wisconsin on Tuesday morning before work.

While walking back to his vehicle he was shot by another turkey hunter at close range.

“I just screamed something to the effect of, ‘You shot me!’” Cusick said. “I could feel the blood running down my face. A lot of things are going through your mind. You are thinking, are you going to live or are you going to die?”

Cusick yelled at the man who shot him to call 911, and then tried to do the same on his phone.

“I had multiple holes in me squirting blood at the same time,” Cusick said. “It covered my phone instantly and I couldn’t make the call.”

Eventually, the 27-year-old White Bear Lake man who shot Cusick got through to police.

But Cusick wasn’t waiting. He got in his truck and drove to a nearby farm where paramedics found him and rushed him to the hospital.

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Total, he had 58 birdshot pellets across his body.

It’s still uncertain what kind of long-term health issues Cusick may have. He will have surgery for a pellet that’s still stuck behind his eye.

He also has one lodged in his spine.

“They either work their way out on their own, or they scar over and become a part of you forever,” Cusick said.

A 28-year veteran of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, one of Cusick’s duties has been teaching firearm safety classes.

And rule No. 1 has always been identifying your target before you pull the trigger.

“The very things I teach, and the very things I’ve seen in the DNR videos and what not is exactly what just happened to me,” Cusick said.

Cusick spent a day in the hospital and the main thing is no major organs were injured.

The 27-year old hunter could face some criminal charges and it also sounds like the man may have been trespassing.

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The investigation is on-going.

John Lauritsen