The brave 25-year-old officer who took three bullets in a deadly Bronx shootout late last month wheeled out of the hospital yesterday amid applause from scores of family and fellow members of the NYPD.
The three officers who responded with Robert Salerno to the 911 call that nearly claimed his life helped push his wheelchair out of Lincoln Hospital Monday and into a waiting crowd of eager loved ones, including roughly 60 members of the police force, his parents and other family members, according to The New York Post.
As he headed out of the hospital en route to a rehab facility in White Plains, Salerno said to the crowd, "Tell the guys that I'm ready to get back to work."
Salerno was shot March 22 while responding to an emergency call in the South Bronx, not far from Yankee Stadium. The 3-year-veteran of the force was hit twice in the abdomen, and his bullet-resistant vest blocked another bullet. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said after the shooting that the vest likely saved the young officer's life.
The two bullets that hit Salerno's abdomen caused severe nerve damage to his right leg and damaged his bladder and both intestines. He was the first NYPD officer shot in the line of duty this year.
The suspect who shot him, 57-year-old Santiago Urina who had recently lost his job and was apparently distraught, was felled by police gunfire.
It's not yet clear when Salerno will be able to return to work. His physical rehabilitation is expected to last at least two months, reports the Post.