A Texas police officer was shot in the face last week when she stopped to question men in a vehicle, but she didn’t let that stop her from trying to chase them down.

Why?

“I had to stay in that fight because I am a mom,” the 40-year-old former Marine Ann Carrizales told NBC’s Janet Shamlian.

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Ann Carrizales spoke at a press conference Thursday with a bandage covering the gunshot wound on her face. (Image source: KRIV-TV video screenshot)

Carrizales with the Stafford Police Department stopped to speak with three men in a car after 3:30 a.m. Saturday. While questioning the driver, a passenger shot her — twice.

Lt. Dusting Claborn told KTRK-TV Carrizales was shot in the face and the chest.

Carrizales returned fire as she backed away toward her own car for cover, and the suspects fled. Once back in her patrol car, she followed them all the way to Houston.

Back in her car, Carrizales’ dashboard camera records her saying she had been hit and that since she was still conscious, she would pursue them. Pulling onto a main road, Carrizales gunned it and blared her siren after the men.

After several minutes keeping a dispatcher informed of the chase, Carrizales said the subject was still firing shots and she was now keeping her distance. At one point, she said she lost the men and that she wasn’t going to pursue them further down the street.

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Carrizales gets out of the car after she lost the suspects and other officers soon come on scene to help her. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

Meeting up with other officers in the area shortly afterward, she said “tell them to watch your back.”

Watch the dashcam video showing what happened after Carrizales was hit:

“I was born to be a protector. I have always been a protector. It would be nothing for me to give my life for yours. I wouldn’t think twice to do it. I didn’t think twice to do it in the past and I wouldn’t think twice to do it in the future. But sometimes even we protectors, we seek protection,” Carrizales said in a press conference Thursday, her first public appearance since the incident, according to KRIV-TV.

The shooter, identified as 21-year-old Sergio Rodriguez, was later caught, but police are still hunting for 28-year-old Freddy Henriquez, who is thought to be an illegal immigrant and member of a gang, and Daniel Cruz, also going by Jose Luis Cruz.

There is a $10,000 reward out for information that leads to felony charges for the others involved in the case, KTRK reported.

The message from Carrizales husband, Chris, to those who could be hiding these other two men?

“If they could shoot a cop with no regard for life, they are not worth it. They are not worth your protection because they don’t care about you,” he said, according to KRIV.

This isn’t the first violent incident Carrizales has endured, the Houston Chronicle reported that the officer with a comrade last year was dragged by an SUV after they broke up a party.

Watch KRIV-TV’s report with footage from Carrizales’ press conference:

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(H/T: LiveLeak)