SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Dan Walters, a professional baseball player-turned- police officer who was paralyzed from the neck down 17 years ago in an on-duty shooting while on patrol in San Diego, died Thursday.
The death of the 53-year-old former lawman and one-time Padres catcher was announced by the San Diego Police Officers Association. No information on his cause of death was immediately available.
Walters, a Santana High School graduate who played for San Diego’s Major League Baseball club during its 1992-93 seasons, joined the San Diego Police Department in 1998, two years after a spring-training spinal injury cut short his professional sports career.
On the night of Nov. 12, 2003, Walters got caught up in a shootout as he and his partner were providing backup for another officer during a traffic stop of a domestic violence suspect on 43rd Street in Southcrest.
Walters was struck in the neck by gunfire and fell to onto the street, where a passing vehicle hit him, leaving him with two crushed cervical vertebrae.
Despite extensive rehabilitation during which he regained some movement in his upper body, Walters had to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life, according to the SDPOA.