Newly released video shows the moment aat point-blank range.
A jury was shown the video this week at the gunman's trial for attempted murder.
On New Year's Day 2016, officer Quincy Smith responded to a call about a suspicious person in Estill, South Carolina.
The video was recorded by the officer's camera glasses that he bought himself on Amazon for $30.
As Smith approached the suspect, 29-year-old Malcolm Orr, Orr pulled a gun from his pocket and opened fire.
Orr fired 8 times, wounding Smith in his arm, neck and torso. A year and a half later, Smith recalls the terror of that moment.
"The first shot hit me in the neck, and it felt like something flicked me in the neck. It was enough force to knock me on my back," Smith says.
The officer retreated to his cruiser to call for backup, as Orr kept shooting.
"I thought I was going to die right then, and I told dispatch to tell my family I love them, because I thought I wasn't going to make it," Smith says.
Orr was arrested by officers who responded to the scene.
This week, the video helped convict Orr of attempted murder. He received the maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.
Smith remains on medical leave and hopes to return to work Jan. 1. All the department's 15 officers are now required to wear body cameras.