McSwain was named the department's Officer of the Year in 2013.
CEDAR HILL — A female officer was critically burned and two others injured after a man set himself on fire in the parking lot of a Cedar Hill shopping center Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses said the suspect was shot by officers as he fled across the lot after he set himself ablaze inside a Wingstop. A police spokesman said three officers were injured. The critically injured officer was identified as Officer Ann McSwain. She was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital and remained hospitalized Wednesday night. Police said she was in a lot of pain. McSwain was named the department's Officer of the Year in 2013.
"Officer McSwain will require additional medical treatment in the form of surgery to address her burn injuries sustained while trying to apprehend the suspect," Cedar Hill Police Chief Steve Rhodes said. "We want to express our sincere thanks to the young man [Spencer Stroud] who rendered aid to Officer McSwain until the paramedics arrived yesterday afternoon. His act of kindness and caring will not be forgotten by the officers of the Cedar Hill Police Department or our community."
July 23,2014 - Update From Officer McSwain:
"Jessica: Thank you so much for contacting me. The experience is not one I ever trained for so this is all new territory for me especially the given the extent of my injuries and the long and grueling recovery process. You most certainly have my permission to publish the link for me. My husband and I have been overwhelmed with everything and I am so very grateful and blessed you reached out to me. During the incident, I decided I was not going out that way and I maintained that attitude in the hospital and exceeded all the doctors' expectations by coming home less than 2 weeks from the incident. I met every hurdle determined to bust through because I want my life back! With support from my PD, my husband, my friends and family, and groups like yours it has been a blessing in so many ways that this happened to me. I still need physical therapy and months of recovery so we are still facing a long road ahead.
Again, I can not thank you enough. The incident has turned into a blessing for me and my family."
July 23, 2014
Still needing physical therapy and months of recovery so Officer Ann McSwain and her family are still facing a long road ahead. The injuries are extensive and she faces a long and grueling recovery. During the incident, Officer McSwain decided she was not going out that way and maintained that attitude in the hospital and exceeded all the doctors' expectations by coming home less than 2 weeks from the incident. She met every hurdle ~ determined to bust through because she wants her life back! With support from her PD, her husband, her friends and family, Officer McSwain has so much resolve that she even claims it has been a blessing in so many ways that this has happened.
August 1, 2014
Officer McSwain and Spencer Stroud share a hug after meeting for the first time since the tragedy that brought them together three weeks ago. Spencer helped put out the flames that threatened Officer McSwain's life. Thank you Spencer for your help and compassion.
“I was burned on both legs basically below the knee and above the ankle and my right arm just on the underside from here basically to my arm pit and then some superficial burns on my face,” McSwain said.
She underwent surgery to replace the burned skin.
“I’d always heard burns were the worst types of injuries. I had no idea, I had no idea,” McSwain said. “I was not prepared for how painful the burn itself would be and then the treatment of the burns."
McSwain wants to return to patrol, but it may take time.
Until then, she wants to volunteer to help others suffering from severe burns.
“The community makes me want to come back and do this job,” McSwain said. “The community’s outpouring of love and support has just been overwhelming; the humanity of humanity is amazing and it makes an act of, and I don’t know what caused this gentleman to do what he did - but the outpouring of love and support from the community has so dwarfed everything else. It has carried me through some dark nights when I was in the hospital by myself. It has given me strength and encouragement that I needed.”"