“I’ve been shot. But I’m okay….”

By Kevin Morison

“I’ve been shot. But I’m okay. I think the vest got it.”

Those are the chilling words Alexandria (VA) Police Officer Kyle Russell called in on his radio Tuesday night soon after he had pulled over a man for driving erratically on Interstate 395 outside Washington, DC. The driver pulled a .45-caliber handgun and shot the officer through the passenger side window. Officer Russell, who has been on the force 3 1/2 years, was struck in the upper torso, but the body armor he was wearing absorbed most of the impact. Officer Russell was treated and released at a local hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. The gunman apparently committed suicide a short time later; investigators believe he had previously murdered his wife.

Alexandria Police Chief David P. Baker was direct in his assessment of the attack on Officer Russell. “Bottom line is: No vest, he’s a goner. It was a .45-caliber,” he told the Washington Post.

The IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors’ Club reports that since 1987, more than 3,000 individuals working in law enforcement have survived both ballistic and non-ballistic incidents because they were wearing body armor. With Officer Russell, they can add one more heroic member to the club.

Read more and watch video on NBC.com — Officer Russell in his own words and a report on how safety vests work.