JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy is talking on-camera for the first time since he was attacked six weeks ago.

On Sept. 16, Deputy Clint Bowden responded to a call of a person throwing rocks at vehicles on Old Springville Road in Clay. Upon arrival, Bowden spotted the man that matched the description a block away, 28-year-old Vincent Kimbrough.

“I said, ‘Hey man, did you have a run in with somebody down the street?’ He said ‘Yeah,’ something about, ‘The guy was going to beat my ‘A’ like I’m fixing to do to you,’” Bowden said. “That’s when I was like, ‘Oh, wait a minute.’”

Initially, Kimbrough complied, but soon began to reach into his backpack. At this point, Bowden called for backup. 

“I told him not to reach in that bag,” Bowden said. “That’s when he just came at me and I tased him twice, but it was ineffective.”

Bowden said Kimbrough was able to charge him and repeatedly hit him in the head, while also going for Bowden’s gun.

“I was bleeding,” he said. “I couldn’t see.” 

Finally, help arrived. Eyewitness video showed two deputies arresting Kimbrough after they said he fought with them.

“I thought I was gonna die,” Bowden said. 

Following the attack, Bowden was left with a gash on his forehead and the fear that his decades-long career might be over. He is currently being treated for a traumatic brain injury, PTSD, weakness on his left side, headaches and trouble sleeping.

Now, Bowden worries about his fellow deputies, saying the number of deputies in Jefferson County continues to drop every year. This shortage was seen the morning he was attacked. 

“There should have been 12 to 17 in the center point substation on that shift,” Clay City Manager Ronnie Dixon said. “In the substation that morning, there were three deputies … That was the morning of the attack.”

According to the Jefferson County Commission, in October 2019, there were 926 deputies and sworn officers at the JCSO. In October of 2023, that number dropped to 856.

“If things don’t change, it’s gonna be bad for Jefferson County,” Bowden said.

Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway declined an interview request for this story. However, he gave the following statement:

“Any attack on one of our own, is an attack on us all, and will not be tolerated. The individual who committed this act of violence against our deputy is currently in custody and will be prosecuted in accordance with the law. As demonstrated by the Sheriff’s Office’s quick response to assist our deputy in distress, we have safety protocols and support systems in place to ensure the safety and protection of our deputies as they carry out their duties. Additionally, sheriff deputies have extensive training to handle such matters. I remain steadfast in prioritizing the safety of the citizens of Jefferson County and those dedicated men and women who serve and protect our residents around the clock.”