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Orange County Sheriff's Office thankful belt buckle saved deputy's life when he was shot

Corporal Orrin Landers was mistakenly shot through a door by a resident at a home in Orangefield while responding to a burglary call Wednesday.

ORANGE COUNTY, Texas — An Orange County deputy is out of the hospital and recovering after being mistakenly shot at through a door by a resident at a home in Orangefield while responding to a burglary call Wednesday morning.

Corporal Orrin Landers was wearing a belt that potentially saved his life.

Although Landers will be making a full recovery, this ordeal has left fellow deputies rattled.

Just before 9 a.m. on Wednesday January 4, 2023, the Orange County Sheriff's Office received a report of a "burglary in progress" at a home in the 7800 block Greenwood Drive in Orangefield.

Landers and Sergeant Jacob McElroy were on patrol near Orangefield High School when that call came in and arrived to the residence within minutes.  

Orangefield Independent School District was briefly put on lockdown due to the incident.

"The call was initially a burglary in progress, which advised that a female was in distress. A possible assailant was inside the home assaulting her," said McElroy. "Due to the exiting circumstances we wanted to enter the home as soon as possible to render aid."

The front door was locked so deputies tried to kick it, which is when the homeowner opened fire.

The single bullet went through the door.

The dispatch call recorded Landers himself saying he'd been shot. 

"A single shot was fired through the doorway striking corporal in the belt buckle groin area, it only hit the belt buckle and deflected and hit the ground," McElroy said. 

That single belt buckle was what saved Landers' life. Orange County Sheriff Jimmy Lane Mooney says it could have easily been a different story.

"If it would have went an inch lower, it could have hit him in the groin area. If it was a couple of inches higher it could have hit him in the stomach and penetrated that area," Mooney said. 

Years of working together from the SWAT team to being partners, McElroy says Landers is a close friend and is glad he is OK. 

"Initially upon contact the words him saying 'i'm hit' everything focused on making sure he was ok and emotionally when a family member is in distress you want to get there," McElroy said. 

The woman who fired the weapon tells 12News she isn't ready to make a statement, but is glad the officer is OK. 

After investigating, deputies determined that there was no evidence that an intruder was ever at the home, according to Captain Joey Jacobs.

“As of now I do not know if there will be charges filed. We are not ruling anything out at this point," Mooney previously told 12News. "We are still looking at video and doing the investigation."

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