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Officer forgives man who shot him 3 times

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Posted at 12:47 AM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 11:25:48-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Six months after pleading guilty to shooting Richmond Police Officer William Turner, Tamar X. Harris, was sentenced to 23 years in prison Monday.

Before the sentencing, Harris stood in front of the court and apologized to Officer Turner's family, his family and admitted he suffers from a mental illness.

"You can't help but feel for the family, although it was an attack against me. A family still loves their child. I don't hold any hatred. I accept his apology. I'm glad this is behind me," Officer Turner told CBS 6.

Richmond Police Officer William Turner

Richmond Police Officer William Turner

Harris' defense was one of mental illness, suggesting he’d been hoping for suicide by cop. An expert testified he had an IQ of 58, which is below the first percentile of the general population.

The Commonwealth countered by saying his mental capacity didn't affect his aim, as he shot at Turner's head.

"When people commit a crime against a person, they know with that comes punishment, “ said Turner.  “We learn that as kids."

Turner testified the first shot made it feel like the left side of his face was ripped off.  "God helped me,” Turner said. “He had a good shot within 10-12 feet of me and he emptied his weapon. He was trying to get me."

Tamar Harris (PHOTO: Richmond Police)

Tamar Harris (PHOTO: Richmond Police)

Harris read aloud in court what was at times an inaudible statement. His sister wept as he was sentenced to 35 years in prison with 12 years suspended.

It all stemmed from an incident back on January 2, 2015, after Harris left his home house upset, defiant that he wasn't going to pay his $200 in rent.

"It's obvious he needed help years ago," said Turner.

Prior to shooting Officer Turner, CBS 6 learned that Harris tried to take his own life at least three times including shooting himself and hanging himself.

Officer Turner said when he was cleared to return to patrol in September, the first thing he did was go back to the shooting scene.

Turner is back on the same beat 32 years and 11 months on the job and he said he’s not ready to retire yet.