The pain in Allen Dyer's stomach serves as a constant reminder of the day the Payson Police officer was shot in front of Payson's Wal-Mart. But as he recuperates at his home in Glendale, he yearns to return to the Rim country and police work.
"I've got some bullet wounds that have to heal up," he said Wednesday. "I've got some surgical stuff that's got to heal. I've had some damage to my liver and a lung, and my diaphragm and my stomach muscles had to be sewn back together.
"That's really sticking with me every day, where they had to put those stomach muscles back together," he said. "In time, it will all heal up."
Dyer, a 22-year police veteran, joined the Payson Police Department four months ago. He was shot Oct. 30 while searching for a man who was spotted with a gun near Payson Village Shopping Center. Dyer came face to face with the man -- 40-year-old Lenny Kizzar -- in front of the Wal-Mart's busy sidewalk sale displays.
Kizzar allegedly shot Dyer twice while the officer tried to protect the store's unsuspecting shoppers.
"We were less than an arm's length away when I was shot," Dyer said. "I never lost consciousness; I knew what was going on at all times."
Officers Dean Faust and Mike Mellor chased Kizzar through a nearby neighborhood and captured him shortly after the shooting. Kizzar was booked into Gila County jail on a charge of attempted murder, and he remains in custody in lieu of a $2 million bond.
While some people might question their chosen profession after sustaining such grave wounds, Dyer said he's anxious to get back into uniform.
"As soon as I can mend, I intend to come back to work," he said.
Dyer, who retired as a sergeant from the Phoenix Police Department, said that until last month, he hadn't been shot at in 22 years of police work.
"I never had any illusions about moving here," he said. "They asked me during the interview a question something like, 'What would you expect police work to be like in Payson?'
"I expected to encounter the same problems as I did in the Valley, just not as much of it. I knew we could encounter some real bad guys, (just not) as often as you do down here."
Dyer, who was still in the process of moving his family to town when he was shot, said his wife, Michelle, and their two children also are looking forward to calling Payson home.
"It's stressful whenever you relocate a family from what's safe and secure to someplace new," he said. "We've got a good attitude about it. We still think it's going to work out just fine. We had this little unexpected setback here, that's all.
Monkey wrench into the works
"We thought one of the biggest obstacles was going to be getting our house down here sold. Then this comes along and throws a monkey wrench into the works. It's always something, you know?"
As for Kizzar, the man accused of throwing that monkey wrench into Dyer's life, the officer said he feels no animosity toward him.
"Obviously, I'm real glad he didn't hurt anybody else that day," he said. "When I think about how many families were around Wal-Mart that afternoon -- there were just people everywhere -- I'm thankful that nobody else got hurt.
"But does the name Lenny Kizzar stir any fear or hatred ... I can't say that it does."