UPDATE: Sgt. Dennis Pedigo has been with the Chattanooga Police Department for 17-years, he's worked patrol, he's worked in the K-9 Unit and off duty he's even works with kids as a volunteer football coach.
Friends tell Channel 3 he is in high spirits after Thursday's shooting rampage in Chattanooga, they say he is thankful for the outpouring of love and support.
"Chattanooga police officers proved themselves in every since of the word heroes, they are my heroes," said Chief Fred Fletcher during Friday's press conference.
Emotional words from our city's top cop - ring true for all Chattanoogans. Officials say Sgt. Dennis Pedigo heard the gunshots inside the Navy Marine Reserve Center Thursday and without hesitation ran toward the bullets to protect and serve.
"As he went down his teammates who were responding equally aggressive came to his aid," said Chief Fletcher.
Officers dragged him out from under the gunfire, while returning fire against the gunman to get him to safety. The 17-year police veteran suffered a gunshot wound to his ankle. The father of 4 was released from Erlanger, he is now recovering in an undisclosed location, unable to work.
"He is without a doubt one of the toughest men I know," said Sgt. Gary Martin, Pedigo's Supervisor. "He selflessly ran into gunfire to prevent death. I have no doubt that he and other officers prevented people from dying," said Sgt. Martin.
Sgt. Gary Martin started a Go FundMe account for Sgt. Pedigo and his family. The account raised more than $10,000 in just 16 hours. The department says he's got a long road ahead physically, emotionally and financially. Friends say Pedigo has always gone above and beyond for his community, they hope the community will do the same for him.
"He's coached baseball, he's coached wrestling at Central, he is an integral part of the community and he gives back to the community said friend John "Bucky" McCulley. "If the community needs him, Dennis will always be there and it's the same when he's not in uniform and just like the other day, they needed him he was there."
Friends say Sgt. Pedigo will likely be in a cast on crutches for months. The Gofundme account was set up by Sgt. Gary Martin.
A second account has been set up for Sgt. Dennis Pedigo by one of his fellow academy mates. The account is with the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, 100% of the proceeds to this account reach Dennis (GoFund has a finders fee due to their convenience).
To donate to the account through the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 23967, Chattanooga, TN 37422) Call 423-634-3600 to donate to Acct# 000194197, Routing# 261375684