Spartanburg police officer back at work after attack at Walmart

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – You may remember the story we covered about the Spartanburg police officer who was reportedly assaulted while working inside Walmart back in August.

We’re hearing from that officer for the first time this week as he’s finally returning to work.

“I always wanted to do it since I was a little kid. It’s definitely a passion,” Spartanburg Police Officer Erin Hansen said. “I don’t think you can really show up and be ready to go, and do all the things that we do if you don’t love it.”

Officer Erin Hansen has been with the Spartanburg Police Department for about four years and said told 7 New it’s become his second home.

“I can’t imagine doing this anywhere else,” he said.

But, back in August, Hansen was forced out of work when an unexpected incident occurred.

He was off-duty and working security at the Dorman Centre Walmart when police say a man named James Cunningham ran over and started attacking him.

“I was just kind of watching over the scanners and making sure that everything was going smoothly, and it was just out of nowhere,” Hansen said.

Officer Hansen told 7 News Cunningham had a knife.

“I don’t know if it was luck, someone watching over me, reverted back to a little bit of training or whatever it may be–I’ll take it however it lies–but I was able to actually knock the knife out of his hand,” he said.

Hansen was reportedly knocked unconscious and police say Cunningham tried to take Hansen’s weapon but was not successful.

Unfortunately, Hansen was still hurt pretty badly.

“A skull fracture, a broken nose, a busted eardrum. I have some hearing loss now,” he said.

It took nearly four months for him to be able to come back to the job he loves.

“Try being excited and taking it to a whole other level. Just extremely grateful. More than excited,” he said. “I had to get back to doing it.”

And Hansen credits his return to work to the good Samaritans who stepped in to help on that scary day.

“I owe everything to the people that were standing around,” he said. “It’s great to see that people will still jump in and do something when someone needs help.”

Hansen told 7 News he wasn’t going to let the incident keep him from doing what he was meant to do: serving and protecting.

“Something that you don’t expect to happen and you hope never happens, but if that’s the last thing that ever happens to a citizen, a visitor, or a police officer, then I’d do it ten times over again,” he said about the incident.

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