Bank security officer shot on duty recounts stranger’s attack: ‘The bullet went in just under the vest’

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SEATTLE — He risked his own life to save others and now, thankfully, bank security officer Bruce Golphenee is at home recovering.

He was shot and seriously injured at a branch of the Bank of America in Seattle, after a man ambushed him and took his gun.

“I definitely had a couple of guardian angels. I tell you if it wasn’t for the big guy up there watching out for me, I don’t think I’d be here. I really don’t,” injured security officer Golphenee said.

Golphenee was the much-beloved security officer here at the bank branch at 23rd and Jackson.

His job was to protect customers and employees but on July 24 he found himself in a desperate fight for his own life with a man he'd never seen before.

"As I was doing my sweep and he ambushed me, just started pounding on me on my face. I can recall 15 to 20 punches,” Golphenee said.

Golphenee  added that the man never said a word and was unrelenting in his assault.

As he tried to overpower the man, he felt his left ankle snap in two.

The two scuffled and several shots from his own weapon were fired before his attacker wrangled away the gun and shot Golphenee in the back.

The attack left Golphenee with massive internal injuries, a broken leg and one of his fingers was shot off. But the attack wasn't over.

"As he was kind of running out toward the door, I remember hearing what appeared to be one more shot. I jumped down and, as I did, I twisted and that's when the bullet went in just underneath the vest, through the duty belt, deflected off the spine and kind of went up from a low angle,” Golphenee said.

The gunman then tried to take his own life with Golphenee's gun.

Golphenee spent nine days in the hospital and endured multiple surgeries, but he's going to be OK.

"Between everyone there and other individuals and the friends, my family and everyone praying for me and their thoughts and their prayers it's helping me a lot,” Golphenee said.

Golphenee has already had several surgeries and will need at least one more.

Along with recovering from his injuries, he has mounting medical bills.

He has a go-fund-me account set up for those who want to help. and search his name, Bruce Golphenee.

He said he won't return to his job as a security guard. He’s thinking of going back to school and doing something less dangerous.


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  • The World is Ending

    Why would he have mounting medical bills? He was hurt on the job he has L&I or some other private insurance to pay the medical bills and time loss, and if they are not then he needs to get an attorney, and get what he is due.

  • Trish Golphenee-Grimes

    As Bruce’s sister, I would like to clarify that he has filed for L & I and hopes that his medical bills will be paid by them as well as a PORTION of his normal wages. That takes time and in the meantime he has no income. His girlfriend is taking care of him 24/7. In addition to that, between the two of them they have 3 children to get ready for school and provide for. Bruce is a hardworking man that has always been the first one to step up to help anyone in need, stranger or not!!

  • S Burrows

    why isn’t BANK OF AMERICA footing the bill? Getting him a wheel chair and paying his wages! Is this how they treat their employees who where doing their job protecting the bank etc? If so, I think many people may be switching banks.

    • Trish Golphenee-Grimes

      He isn’t actually employed by the bank, he is employed by a security company. I have spoke with an employee of the bank several times and I want everyone to know that the bank employees consider Bruce more than the guard that protects their place of employment!!! And the employees and the supervisors of the security company he works for also feel that Bruce is more than just an employee and coworker!! One way or another L & I will cover his medical bills I’m sure.

  • Korena Tinnin

    Bruce is a great guy and would help anyone. He helped me before. I agree with Trish things take time with L & I and they need help now. It’s his turn to get help so why can’t we all help him when he needs it now?

    • Trish Golphenee-Grimes

      Thank you Korena!!! I am very happy to say that his L & I claim has been approved and that they have started paying him!!!! We are all relieved!! While the checks he will receive are a big help, he is only being paid 60% of his wages :( It will increase by a very small percent when they receive documentation of his dependent child, but all of this is absolutely better nothing. Again, thank you Korena!!!

  • Trish Golphenee-Grimes

    Bruce Golphenee and his family would like to thank Gary and Tina. They both contacted James Lynch to offer wheelchairs for Bruce!!! We are so grateful to you both!!! Thank you Gary for delivering the wheelchair to Bruce!!!