Corpus Christi Police Department Officer Manuel Dominguez took the stand Wednesday in the punishment phase of the trial against Joshua Powell, the man who has pled guilty to shooting Dominguez in 2021.
He told the court how the aftermath of the shooting that cost him his right eye has scarred him in more ways than one.
“I lost my self-esteem,” he said. “I lost my confidence in myself. I lost a lot of trust with my fellow officers and my department.”
The nightmares brought on by the shooting got so bad that, at one point, he had to lock up his gun.
“I thought somebody was trying to open my bedroom door,” he said. “I was about to reach for my gun, and it was my daughter who was opening the door, telling me she was going to school. I had to hide that gun for a while, because I didn’t want to shoot her.”
Powell shot Dominguez 11 times on Aug. 4, 2021, as the officer responded to a domestic disturbance at the Watercolors Apartment Complex on Weber Road. Dominguez was shot in the head several times.
“I just heard some banging,” Dominguez said. “Loud bangs -- ‘pow, pow, pow.’ As I was hearing them, I couldn’t see anymore. I could feel the bullets getting sunk into the back of my head.”
Wednesday marked the first time Dominguez had been in the same room as his attacker since that day.
When asked by Nueces County First Asst. District Attorney Angelica Hernandez whether he thought he was going to die that day, the 20-year-veteran said yes.
“Yeah,” he said. “I thought I was dying, and I was pretty upset that I was going to die in a stranger’s house, in a stranger’s apartment, and I wasn’t going to be able to see my family anymore.”
Since then, Dominguez has had to undergo several surgeries to remove bullet fragments. Several more still are in his body.
Proceedings will resume Thursday. Powell is facing a life sentence after pleading guilty to attempted capital murder of a peace officer earlier this month.
“It feels like I’m being punished for something I did,” Dominguez said. “And I’m trying to figure out ‘What did I do wrong in life that caused this for me? I think about that a lot. Pretty much every day.”