SAN ANTONIO - A Bexar County sheriff's deputy brutally assaulted by an inmate last year suffered broken bones and pneumonia as a result of the attack.
With all of those medical expenses, strangers stepped in to help the family.
He shared his story of recovery with KENS 5.
On Sept. 2, 2016, Bexar County Sheriff's Office Deputy Julio Ruelas said he was escorting Shermann Robinson back to his cell in the Bexar County Jail when the inmate attacked.
"The words that came out of his mouth were 'I am going to kill you. This is the end,'" said Ruelas.
His injuries were so severe, Ruelas spent several weeks in the hospital.
Ruelas said at the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, they have what's called the "flight or fight" procedure for deputies to follow should they be attacked by an inmate.
He chose to fight.
"I broke my arm and the inmate broke several bones in my face, which led to me getting pneumonia," said Ruelas. "My sinuses they weren't draining properly to the back of the throat. They were going into the lungs. That was the scariest moment, because that's when I went into a coma."
"There was nothing we could do. The doctors didn't know if it was possible for him to wake up," said Ruelas's wife, Stephanie.
A week and a half later, Ruelas opened his eyes.
"I kept asking if he was okay. I wanted to go see him. I was sad," said Ruelas's 10-year-old son, Jacob.
Julio and his wife Stephanie have three boys, Joby, 12, Jacob and Joel, 9.
Unfortunately, they have also had to retain a workman's compensation lawyer. Payments to this lawyer are drafted from his weekly workman's compensation. He said this takes a good amount of money away from his family and their needs.
Ruelas is now back home with his wife and three sons. He uses a walker and an oxygen tank every day.
"One of our mottos at the sheriff's office is 'we're going home'," he said. "We're going to make sure our officers go home."
At the start of summer, a run-in with fellow Deputy Joseph Canales started a movement.
Ruelas said the Canales family, with the help of the sheriff's office and strangers began to raise money for his family while he and his wife are out of work.
Stephanie was injured in a car incident.
"Once everybody got a hold of what happened to my husband, that's when everybody reached out and started helping us," she said.
So far, they've raised more than $7,000.
"We were able to get my children new clothes and new shoes," said Ruelas. "We bought new food for our home."
"It feels good because sometimes we don't have the money to do it, to get the stuff," said Jacob.
Ruelas hopes to return to work in a few months. He recently had nose surgery, and he's working with a lung specialist now to make sure his organs have healed properly.
If you'd like to donate, visit this website.
The Ruelas Family wanted to thank everyone who has helped them during this difficult time. Those organizations include the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, FLEET, The 100 Club of San Antonio and the Texas Advocacy Project.
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