SEELEY LAKE — With over 40 years in law enforcement and 30 years in the Marine Corps Reserves, Bob Parcell has an impressive resume. But one stormy night in 1992 would leave him with more than just a scar, but a re-evaluation of the life he has.
A Marine, smokejumper, sheriff’s deputy, and father of 10 kids, Parcell has lived a life of many stories; but one has grabbed the attention of many. Back on June 27, 1992, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Parcell stopped a witness to a crime while assisting Lake County -- and the witness turned into a suspect.
“The guy torpedoes open the door, gets out of the car, drops something, picked it up and ran off and pitch-black woods, I got a runner,” Parcell recalled.
Sgt. Parcell tried to reason with the man but was met with gunfire. “I began to hear the pops. Pop, pop, pop, and by the second pop I realized I was under fire.
“It hit the bottom of the badge and I couldn't see it because I was looking down at it, so I pulled my shirt up and reached underneath and it came out with a handful of blood,” Parcell recalled.
But his police vest met with the brunt of the shot to his chest and protected him from the 41-magnum bullet. Parcell said that moment is something that all deputies and law enforcement may be faced with.
“You don't want to get shot at. You don't want to not go home. But it's part of the duty and you know, it's you may have to deal with and hopefully, not everybody does.”
Parcell continued serving in the Marine Corps and also trained police officers in Iraq after 9/11. “I've been in -- in combat. You know after this, and you handle it, and you try to do the best you can. So, I've been lucky."
Now Parcell uses that experience from that night nearly 30 years ago to remember to never let down your guard.
“Well, now I have to watch what are they thinking and be a little more on my toes. You know you can't let down your guard in this kind of situation, even though it looks benign, it could really. escalate fast and it did.”
Parcell says because he survived, he was able to have three more children and continue to serve his community.