Bensenville officer who was shot 8 times to be honored with FOP’s Medal of Valor


BENSENVILLE, Ill. — It has been a little more than a year since Officer Steven Kotlewski was shot eight times responding to a domestic call. Tuesday, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police is awarding Kotlewski with a Medal of Valor.

The Bensenville police officer was dispatched to a domestic disturbance call early on the morning of Nov. 6, 2021. A 21-year-old man appeared, gun in hand, and opened fire ten times

Eight bullets hit Kotlewski’s body, a ninth went into his vest.

In his escape, Kotlewski tumbled down the stairs. He lay bleeding, teetering between life and death as his fellow officers and responding paramedics applied a tourniquet and helped save his life.

Today, Kotlewski continues his recovery.

“I can focus on my nutrition, my gym time, trying to sleep as much as I can,” he said.

His days are now filled with a lot more family time and a lot of therapy — both psychological and physical. He is back to walking, mostly, and in some ways, he says he is a better man than before he was shot.

“I’m a better man above the navel,” he said. “That includes my brain, my heart.”

But his body he says still has a long way to go. And when asked if he wants to one day go back to being a cop he says yes.

But his wife Crystal has something to say about that, too.

“(I) can’t do this again. It was a lot,” she said. “I mean emotionally, physically, I don’t know if he’d survive it again if the same thing happened because he went through so much and so much surgery. It’s not good for your body, physically or mentally. … I don’t know who would be okay with her husband going back after something so horrific life-changing.”

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