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Scott Tipton and his wife, Jamie. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- About 600 people spent part of their Valentine's Day at a United Blood Services luncheon in Phoenix.

They heard the story of a man who desperately needed blood in July 2000.

Tempe Police Officer Scott Tipton was nearing the end of his shift. His wife, Jamie, was at home getting ready to go out to dinner on the couple's 10th wedding anniversary.

Then he responded to a call that would change their lives.

It was a domestic violence call at a strip mall. Tipton arrived to find a woman who had been bruised and her boyfriend was sitting in a car. The man became combative and shot Tipton seven times. Tipton returned fire and killed the suspect.

Tipton was transported to Maricopa Medical Center, where doctors discovered several wounds.

"One shot went through my arm, one went through my right upper thigh, and went through my side and through my chest, and severely damaged my right lung," he said.

Tipton underwent four surgeries and 27 blood transfusions to save his life. He has recovered, but had to retire from the force.

He is blood donor himself, and said he's living proof that you should also donate blood.

"You never know when you'll get into that accident, get cancer or become a burn victim," he said. "It's always nice to think that there will be blood there, but there won't be unless people donate."

Tipton, Jamie and their three children now live in Show Low, where he is an elected official. Tipton plans to run for a second term as constable.

To find out more about donating blood, go to UnitedBloodServicesAZ.org or call (877) UBS-HERO.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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