A police officer who was shot while off-duty when a group of men attempted to rob his family's business in the Bronx has been released from the hospital.
Officer Juan Pichardo left Jacobi Medical Center in a wheelchair Saturday afternoon as a crowd of fellow officers cheered and applauded. After shaking hands and thanking the crowd, Pichardo, who was shot in a leg, stood up from the wheelchair and got into a car.
Pichardo was at his family's auto dealership at 3040 Boston Road in Williamsbridge Thursday evening when two men walked into the business, feigned interest in one of the cars near the dealership office, then took out a gun and forced Pichardo and another employee to the floor in the back office, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. The robbers ransacked the office, all the while holding a gun toward Pichardo's face.
At some point, Pichardo stood up and grabbed the gunman, who fired and shot Pichardo in the right thigh, Kelly said. Still, Pichardo managed to overpower the gunman with the help of the other employee and wrestled him to the ground, disarming him. The other suspect fled in a getaway car where two other men had been waiting.
Pichardo, who was not armed, called in a description of the suspects while he was wounded, Kelly said. Police swarmed the area in response and closed nearby roads as they searched for the suspects. The getaway car was located at 183rd Street and Katonah Avenue, and the three suspects were taken into custody.
Investigators responding to the dealership recognized the gunman as a wanted member of a Bronx robbery crew. He was also taken into custody.