A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy died Tuesday, 23 years after he was shot in the head, permanently lodging a bullet in his brain, the Los Angeles Times report. In December 1994, 29-year-old deputy Steven Belanger pulled over a driver he recognized as an assault suspect. He was interviewing a woman with the suspect when a 20-year-old friend of the suspect rode up behind him on a skateboard and shot him in the head and foot. The shooter later killed himself in front of a church. Doctors were able to remove bone fragments from Belanger's brain but not the bullet. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs states the bullet left Belanger with "ongoing health issues" and was the reason for his retirement from the force.
Belanger's death was also related to the bullet, the association states. "While he was shot in the line of duty over two decades ago, Steve and his family bravely faced the challenges of his injuries up until his passing," association president Ron Hernandez says in a statement. Hernandez calls Belanger a "true hero." Belanger was 52 when he died. He's survived by a wife and daughter, who was just 15 months old when her father was shot. A funeral service for Belanger was scheduled for Thursday, KABC reports. (Read more Los Angeles stories.)