TAMPA (FOX 13) - This week, the nation pays tribute to fallen law enforcement officers. In Tampa, the widow of an officer who was gunned down has her own story and now it's taken quite a turn: She's getting more than a million dollars from the police pension fund -- money that should have been going to her for decades.
Tony and Ann Williams were bonded by marriage and their love of law enforcement. They were both Tampa police officers. On a November day in 1975, they were on their way home from work when they stopped at a convenience store.
A robber inside shot Tony and he died in Ann's arms.
"And I knew he was gone. I saw him wet. I felt him shudder. It was the hardest day of my life," recalled Ann Williams-Thorn, now 65 and remarried.
Not only was her husband killed in front of her, but she shot one of the robbers -- "I shot him three times. He fell almost to the road -- all while her 4-year-old son waited outside in the car.
Nobody had heard of post-traumatic stress syndrome back then, and she was let go by the police department a few years later. Tony's death benefit seemed small.
"Well, I always thought that I wasn't getting enough benefits because the first benefits I got was only like $300 a month," she told me.
She says she questioned the city's pension board for years, but got nowhere -- until now. A plan administrator found an error and Ann says she expects her back payments will amount to around $1.3 million.
Ann says she's suffered physical and mental problems for years and she has lots of uses for the money. "Fix my house, fix my teeth that are falling out of my head, to do the things I need to get done.
She says she'll continue to attend police memorials that honor Tony and fellow fallen officers.
"I want to tell them that I came out alright. We made it,” she added.