Suffolk County, NY – WWE superstar John Cena made a trip to New York to spend time with a Colorado Springs police officer who was shot in the head in the line of duty in 2018.
In August of 2018, Officer Duzel was responding to a report of shots fired in the area of Boulder Street and Bonfoy Avenue, when he was shot in the head by 31-year-old illegal immigrant Karrar Al Khammasi.
Al Khammasi was wounded when additional officers returned fire, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
In the weeks and months that followed, the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) posted photos of a Cena figurine in various locations around the department on social media, encouraging the WWE star to come visit the wounded hero.
Officer Duzel referred to Cena as his “hero,” KDVR reported.
On Friday, the 16-time world champion made his way to New York to surprise Officer Duzel at his Suffolk County home, WWE Network reported.
“Remember all those posts of a John Cena figurine showing up around the police station, encouraging the WWE star to visit Officer Duzel in person?” the CSPD wrote in a Facebook post. “Well, it finally happened!”
The department shared photos of the resilient officer’s meet-up with Cena, including the moment that the celebrity presented Officer Duzel with an exact replica of his championship belt, KDVR reported.
“What a nice guy,” Officer Duzel’s father, Mumtaz, told the news outlet. “It really made his day.”
“Cena said, ‘you are the perfect candidate for that, living my motto. Never give up. You are not giving up. You’re fighting,’” according to Mumtaz.
He said that Officer Duzel was “just beside himself” about the meeting, and that he couldn’t stop smiling.
“I must admit I did not know the extent to which John Cena does for law enforcement officers, military and Make a Wish Foundation,” Mumtaz told KDVR. “I can’t say nicer things about the man. We need more people like him.”
The CSPD thanked the community for helping to make Officer Duzel’s dream come true.
“Thank you to John Cena for supporting our hero along his journey!” the department posted. “We are amazed, humbled, and beyond thankful.”
Back in March, Cena also sent Officer Duzel a personal video message that was later posted to Facebook by the CSPD.
"I saw on the web machine your story, your fantastic story of perseverance and grit just in the face of adversity," Cena said in the video. "You are surrounded by those you love and those who support you and I think that's extra special."
Cena also noted that he saw photos of Officer Duzel with the action figure perched on his shoulder.
“Is it that maybe when times get a little difficult, you need somebody to punch?” he jokingly asked the officer. “That’s okay. I’ll be that guy.”
“Or maybe, it’s because of the three words that I hold so close to my heart – never give up – words that you embody,” Cena said.
"I think your journey and your perseverance and strength has been amazing," he continued. "I wanted to send you a personal message to thank you for putting you story and your message on the internet."
“Any way that I can help, I am very honored to be part of such an amazing story,” Cena added.
Al Khammasi pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted first-degree murder, felony menacing, and possession of a weapon by a previous offender, KKTV reported.
His trial has been set for Feb. 18, 2020.