TODAY   |  October 31, 2013

Shot in face, police officer pursues suspects

Police officer Ann Carrizales was shot twice, including once in the face, during a routine traffic stop, but instead of backing down and allowing her fellow cops to chase down the suspects, she chased them in her squad car for 20 miles until they were caught. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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>>> with a texas police officer held as a hero she was shot twice, once in the face, still managed to pursue the suspects. nbc's janet commandly has more on this. good morning to you.

>> reporter: hi, matt, talk about true grit, a 40-year-old woman at 3:00 in the morning was not about to let the suspect that shot her get away. she knew she was badly hurt. she also knew the suspects underestimated her t. damage on her face is the only visible damage when she took two bullets at point-blank range and without missing a beat, hunted down the gunmen.

>> no reservation?

>> no.

>> from her boxing career to her service as a u.s. marine this tough as nails mother of two has always been a force to be reckoned with. fellow officers named her the top cop in 2012 .

>> i was very clear on what i was doing.

>> reporter: it was a routine traffic stop at 3:00 in the morning. but even if she approached the car with three men inside, something was wrong.

>> reporter: your alarm bells went off?

>> my instinct were telling me it was not a good situation.

>> in fact, it was life-threatening. moments later, she says the front seat maengs passengers leaned forward and shot.

>> i have been hit!

>> reporter: she was hit in the fabric portion of her bulletproof vest .

>> i've been shot in the face and i know that i've taken one in my, uh, vest.

>> reporter: as the car sped off. she fired back, shooting out the rear window, bleeding and in pain, she got back if her squad car and made the decision to go after them a. high speed chase that lasted 20 miles.

>> i knew that it was what i needed to do to catch these guys.

>> finally, the alleged gunman was arrested with the help of neighboring police departments .

>> you can't shoot me and drive away . it's not allowed.

>> reporter: she is off the stroets, but just until she recovers. there is no sign of not going back.

>> you need people like me out here to do this and i'm so proud to do it and honored to do it.

>> reporter: an officer thinking of those she served, a tough texas cop. are you a mom, have you two children, but you were all police officer at that moment?

>> yeah.

>> reporter: because it was an option for me to give up, i had to stay at that site because i am a mom and they shot me and they were absolutely not going to get away with that. because i will do everything i can to come home to my children every day.

>> reporter: police are looking for the other two men in the car. meanwhile this whole incident was caught on what's described as dramatic dash-cam video. police will be releasing that soon. we will have it here on "today."

>> between the bus driver and the police officer , could we have more inspirational people on the show today?

>> that guy did not know what he was in for.