A policeman recorded himself on his camera glasses giving emergency dispatchers what he thought would be his last message to his family after being shot.
Officer Quincy Smith had responded to a report of someone taking groceries from customers in a shop in Estill, South Carolina.
On arrival he spotted Malcolm Antwan Orr as matching the description of the suspect and confronted him.
Orr opened fire when challenged, hitting Mr Smith at point-blank range.
The policeman staggered back to his car and raised the alarm.
Mr Smith captured the whole incident on camera glasses he had bought himself from Amazon.
He suffered two broken arms and a “life-threatening” neck injury but survived.
The footage later helped convict Orr in court.
“If but not for the grace of God and some very good doctors, this would not only have been a murder case, but a death penalty case,” Duffie Stone, the prosecutor in the case, said.
Orr, 29, was found guilty of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.