October 27, 2006
GRAND JUNCTION – Three days after getting shot three times during a traffic stop outside Silt, Colorado State Trooper Brian Koch is already talking about ice fishing with his daughter.Koch’s wife, Nicole Koch, and sister, Tonya Hagen, spoke to reporters Friday afternoon in a meeting room at Grand Junction’s Doubletree Hotel.”I want everyone to know how proud I am of Brian and what he’s had to go through the past couple of days,” Nicole Koch said.”It’s been a scary couple of days, and the support has been phenomenal.”Brian Koch underwent surgery Wednesday after a bullet shattered his left forearm. Two other bullets hit the trooper in the chest, but his bulletproof vest stopped them.Steven Joseph Appl is the suspected shooter. After an intense manhunt, he committed suicide at a police checkpoint around 7 p.m. Wednesday.”I’m glad to hear he won’t be able to hurt anyone else,” Nicole Koch said.State Patrol Capt. Brian Wheeler agreed.”In some respects, this is a bittersweet ending,” Wheeler said. “There is some satisfaction in seeing someone go to jail.”While Nicole Koch and Wheeler indicated that Brian Koch faced a long road to recovery, both said he was doing fine.”Brian is doing well,” she said. “He has a long road to recovery, but we’re just glad it’s not worse than it is.”Nicole Koch said once her husband recovers, you’ll see him once again patrolling Colorado’s highways.”He’s a tough guy,” she said, noting that that’s what 11 years service in the Army and six years service in the state patrol will do to a person.”He wears that badge with honor, and that’s what he’ll continue to do,” she said.