He was beaten unconscious and paralyzed trying to arrest two suspects. Now former Roanoke police officer Bryan Lawrence has suffered another injury.
Lawrence fell on Sunday at the church were he's now a minister, breaking several bones including his neck. It's an injury he says could have easily killed him.
It was just before the service at Cave Rock Baptist Church was about to start. He was walking in a hallway when he tripped and fell.
"I got up close and personal with a metal doorframe," he says.
He remembers falling to the ground and people rushing to his aid. His skull and eye socket were fractured and he broke on of his vertebrae-- the one he says helps control breathing. He says if it had shifted during the fall, he would have died.
"Blessed. No luck," he says. "Blessed-- that it didn't move."
The Roanoke Valley followed Lawrence after he was beaten and partially paralyzed while on duty as a Roanoke police officer three and a half years ago. This week's fall was the worst injury he's had since.
"It seemed like someone smacking you in the head when you're trying to move forward," he says. "But we go through our trials."
Released from the hospital Wednesday morning, he plans on having a quiet Thanksgiving with his family.
He's thankful for the support he's received this week from law enforcement and first responders and he hopes to be back at church on Sunday.
"A buddy of mine told me he said that, 'You must've had a pretty good sermon because the Devil didn't want you to give it,'" he says.
Lawrence says he has to wear a neck brace for the next month while doctors evaluate if he needs surgery. He says a condition of his previous injury causes him to drag one of his feet. He says that's what caused him to trip and fall.