Deputy returns to work nearly 5 months after being shot

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Sgt. Todd Howell returned back to full-time work Tuesday. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

BLACKFOOT — Sgt. Todd Howell is back on the job.

The Bingham County Sheriff deputy returned to full-time patrol duty Tuesday, nearly five months after being shot during a standoff.

Howell has been working in the sheriff’s office for a few months but didn’t have a medical clearance to return to his regular duties until now.

“He’s a patrol sergeant, and now he can be back out there with his people and his co-workers and be a supervisor,” Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland tells EastIdahoNews.com. “He wants to be out there with his men and his fellow officers and just do his job.”

Juan Santos-Quintero, 25, barricaded himself inside a Firth home on Sept. 21 and is accused of shooting Howell during the incident. Santos-Quintero is charged with one count of aggravated battery on law enforcement, two charges of aggravated assault on law enforcement and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Santos-Quintero is scheduled for jury trial on multiple felony charges on April 8 in Bonneville County.

RELATED: Bingham County Sgt. escorted home from hospital

“The bullet entered my left side below my vest, went through my left kidney, struck my spine, went through my right kidney and lodged in the abdominal wall just underneath my skin on the right side,” Howell says. “Had it been a centimeter to the front, I would have bled out. Had it been a centimeter to the back, I’d be paralyzed.”

Doctors removed the bullet from Howell’s body, and he has not needed any major surgeries. He went through some physical therapy and says he’s excited to be back on duty.

“I’m ready to go back to work,” he says.

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