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Former Lexington police officer marks 23 years since shooting

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Twenty-three years ago today, Officer David Parde was shot while responding to a call for the Lexington Police Department. It left him paralyzed from the chest down.

It may not sound like a joyous day -- but Parde said ever since then, May 5 has been a day of celebration for him.

"I celebrate that I'm here. I'm 23. 23 today, that's how I look at it," he said. "A re-birthday."

Parde was 25 when he was shot. He was responding to a call of a suspicious person at an apartment complex just after midnight. He was shot in the back, in his spinal cord, and he said he died and was revived three times on his way to the hospital. Three teenagers were later arrested, and Parde said all three have now been released from prison.

Since the shooting, Parde said he found the meaning of life. He got a college degree and has gotten married.

"I never felt bitterness," Parde said. "No sense in that. That wouldn't get me where I needed to go."

No bitterness and also no regret. Parde said he had always wanted to be a police officer since he was a little boy.

"May have only been for two years and nine months, but I did it," he said. "And I'm perfectly happy the way it is."