FLOYD CO., Ind. (WHAS11) -- Floyd County Detective Scott Sams served four years with the United States Air Force before he stepped into law enforcement. More than two decades later, he can recall a number of 'bad runs,' but one in particular replays in his mind like it was yesterday.
"June 18, 2007, was the day that really started my spiral downhill," Sams said.
He'd just heard from Floyd County Sheriff's Deputy Frank Denzinger, who'd asked him to call when he had a moment. But that moment wouldn't come in time.
Sams was off duty, sitting in a McDonald's drive-thru with his two young daughters when he heard, 'Shots fired! Officers down!' shouted over his radio's dispatch.
"There still isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear that call," Sams said.
Sams rushed to the scene, as bullets continued to fly.
"There was an exchange of gunfire, high powered rifles being fired. For a split second, I looked back and I realized, if the shooter comes out onto his back deck, he's going to have a clear line of fire at my police car, and my kids are in the back seat. And for years, I harbored an extreme amount of guilt that I put my kids in that position, that I took my kids to a shootout," Sams said.
"I remember seeing Frank laying there, face down, his pistol off to his side," Sams said.
The 32-year-old deputy was shot multiple times from a second-story window of a home on Rachel Court. The shooter was a 15-year-old boy in the middle of a dispute with his mother. Denzinger's partner, Joel White, was also shot in the ambush. Only White survived.
"And to this day, I have no idea what he wanted. It's always a lingering thought. What did Frank want that day? I don't know," Sams said.
RELATED: What is House Bill 40?
Sams stayed quiet about that day for years and struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Five years after Denzinger's death, Sams reached out to his superiors for help and received the support he needed. It's the same support he hopes to give to other first responders going through the same struggles before it becomes too much to handle.
"It's about time someone finally reached out and started talking about this issue," Sams said.