The MTA officer who shot and killed a suspect after being stabbed in the eye at a Queens Long Island Rail Road station is out of intensive care and his condition is improving, according to an agency spokeswoman.
Officer John Barnett, 45, was stabbed on the sidewalk under the tracks at the Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue station in Jamaica while he was on patrol at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He then shot the suspect, police said.
Barnett suffered a "devastating eye injury," according to the surgeon who operated on him for four and a half hours. The knife nearly severed his eyeball in half and it will be at least another 24 hours until doctors can offer a prognosis on the officer's vision in his left eye, the surgeon said.
"He's my baby brother, and it was a very rude awakening for the family," said Barnett's sister, Belinda Barnett-Andrea.
The suspect was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital. Officials said he was shot three times -- once in the jaw, chest and hips. He has been identified as 46-year-old Edgar Owens of the Bronx. Authorities said he has a lengthy criminal history.
Barnett has been with MTA police for more than 10 years and Wednesday marked the first time he had fired his weapon on duty. Agency officials said he did "exactly what was expected" from MTA police officers in similar situations.
"In a split second, confronted with a violent individual who posed a threat to everyone around him, he took action without regard to his personal safety. We are all in awe of his bravery," MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said.
Police sources say the suspect's knife was recovered at the scene.
Officials said the incident was unprovoked. Investigators are reviewing security tape from the train station.
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