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Brain-damaged policeman who emerged from comalike state dies

April 15, 1997

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) _ Gary Dockery, the brain-damaged policeman who emerged from 7 1/2 years of a comalike state last year, thrilling his relatives by speaking for several hours, died today. He was 43.

Dockery made headlines around the world when he unexplainably stirred and started talking Feb. 11, 1996.

He described his green jeep. He rattled off the names of his horses. He recognized old friends. He recalled camping trips. He told his two sons how much he loved them.

It was the first time he had spoken since 1988, when a drunken man’s bullet pierced his brain and plunged him into a motionless, mute world.

But after less than a day, he largely returned to silence, though he remained more alert than he had been previously.

Todd Womack, spokesman for Erlanger Health System, said Dockery was transported from his nursing home to an Erlanger hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:52 a.m.

``They were doing CPR in the ambulance all the way to the hospital,″ he said. ``He died at (the nursing home) but it wasn’t confirmed until he reached Erlanger and all attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.″

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