Deputy, Recovering from Shooting, Thanks Supporters

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CLEVELAND, Ohio—The Lorain County sheriff’s deputy who was shot Monday night by a suspect is thanking supporters for sticking by him throughout his harrowing ordeal.

“I would like to extend a special thank-you to the law enforcement community including Sheriff Phil Stammitti, Captain James Drozdowski, my colleagues and the staff at the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department, the Cleveland Police and the Fallen Officers Association for their show of support through countless visits, cards and calls. I’d also like to express my gratitude to our friends and family who have supported me, my wife and our children during this time. Our family is also appreciative of the outpouring of thoughts and prayers from the community,” said Deputy Charles Crausaz, in a statement on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old patrolman was shot around 8:45 p.m. Monday in the area of Pheasant Run Village in LaGrange Township, after exchanging gunfire with Travis Stidham, 42, of Stable Drive in LaGrange Township.

Authorities say they received a 911 call from Stidham’s father just after 7:00 p.m. Monday evening stating that his son was “acting crazy.”

Stidham’s father told sheriff’s deputies that Travis had shot the family’s animals because their black fur made them evil. He also reportedly shot the television in the home.

When deputies responded to the home, Stidham allegedly shot at them, prompting the deputies to return fire.

Crausaz was wearing body armor, but a bullet struck him, and entered in an unprotected area under his arm.

Stidham then fled the scene, kicking off a large manhunt that involved police departments from Elyria, North Ridgeville and Wellington.

A Cleveland Police Department helicopter used infrared technology to locate Stidham within 10 minutes of arriving to assist.

That’s when, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, Stidham ran into a barn on Lattasburg-Elyria Road and he took his own life.

Crausaz, who was originally in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, has been upgraded to fair condition.

The deputy said he was grateful to his colleagues and the staff at Metro, who comforted his family in their time of need.

“I’d like to especially recognize Deputy David Lottman, who stayed with me the first night at Metro, and Steve Loomis and the CPD for the hospitality and comforts provided to me and my family. I’d like to acknowledge the LaGrange Police, Fire & EMS and Metro Life Flight for their swift care. Thanks to the doctors and staff at MetroHealth, my injuries are healing and I look forward to resting at home soon. The bullet did damage part of my lung, but I did not have to undergo surgery.”

Deputy Crausaz says he is now focused on his recovery.

Stick with Fox 8 News and for updates on this story as they become available.

( reporter Dan Jovic contributed to this report.)