Chad Peery walked into a bar Tuesday night to watch the Thunder game with his dad and a family friend.
Wednesday, the Oklahoma City police officer was listed in critical condition at OU Medical Center with a spinal cord injury that could prevent him from ever walking again.
Peery, 34, was off duty at Dan O'Brien's Public House, 2747 W Memorial Road, when employees asked him to intervene in a disturbance between other patrons about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, police Capt. Patrick Stewart said.
He was beaten as he tried to escort four men out of the bar, Stewart said.
Peery remained in critical condition Wednesday following surgery overnight, Stewart said.
His mother, Janet Peery, said her son had a broken neck and no feeling in his body below the injury, and doctor's aren't sure if he will regain feeling in his extremities or walk again.
“We are praying for that miracle,” said Janet Peery, who is chief executive officer of the YWCA of Oklahoma City. “Indications and statistics are not giving us a lot of hope.”
Four men were involved in a disturbance with other patrons when bar employees asked Chad Peery to help, Stewart said. The fighting patrons were told Peery was a police officer as he began to help break up the fight.
At least two of the four men attacked and beat Peery as he escorted them out, Stewart said. They did not use weapons, but
Stewart said he did not know what the initial disturbance was about.
Bar employees did not want to talk about the incident Wednesday.
Police arrested Jimmy Dan Smith, 28; Joshua Bernard Rinken, 28; and Cadmio Antonio Lopez, 32, after the incident, Stewart said. Smith and Rinken were arrested on maiming complaints. Lopez initially was arrested on an outstanding city warrant, but investigators added a maiming complaint Wednesday. Stewart said investigators think Smith and Rinken were involved in Peery's beating, but he wasn't sure what role Lopez might have played.
Maiming complaints are used when an assault victim is at risk of permanent injuries or loss of limbs, Stewart said.
Smith, Rinken and Lopez were being held without bail Wednesday at the Oklahoma County jail, records show. They had not been charged.
Lopez pleaded guilty to counts of driving while impaired in 2000 and 2009, court records show. His sentences are unclear. Smith and Rinken do not have significant criminal history listed in online court records.
A struggle ahead
Peery has been an officer for three years, patrolling in northwest Oklahoma City, Stewart said. He is married with three boys and a girl, ages 3 to 11, Peery's mother said. He has a brother and two sisters.
“His wife and his children and all of his family are facing a long-term, possibly lifelong struggle,” Janet Peery said.
Chad Peery is a graduate of Mount St. Mary Catholic High School and Northeastern State University, his mother said. He played basketball, football, and baseball in school and enjoyed his job and serving the public.
Peery was in good spirits Wednesday and able to communicate with whispers, but his throat was sore from the surgery, his mother said. He slept for much of the day and could face more surgery.
Janet Peery praised police and hospital workers for their help and compassion in dealing with the incident and its aftermath, and said the family is thankful for an outpouring of support from family, friends and the community. She said her family is proud of her son and praying for a full recovery, and they weren't surprised he tried to intervene in the disturbance while off duty.
“I have unbelievable admiration for the courage that he showed,” she said.