One of the two NYPD officers wounded by gunfire in the stairwell of a public housing project is out of the hospital.
Officer Diara Cruz was released Wednesday from Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, pushed in the wheelchair by her partner Officer Patrick Espeut, who was also shot on the job with her last Thursday night.
Cruz was struck in the torso.
"She's seriously hurt but within days she's rising and she's walking. She's what a New York City cop is all about," said Pat Lynch, president of the police officers' union Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
Espeut, who was shot in the cheek, was discharged from the hospital on Friday. He assisted her as she got up from her wheelchair and helped her into a waiting van.
"They're partners, partners stick together. Even when it may hurt, even when they may be in pain, they're gonna be there to hold each other up. They're gonna be there to defend each other, like they did that night," said Lynch.
Lynch said the officers will take some time to recover but that they were eager to get back to their jobs.
The officers are assigned to the Housing Bureau and have been on the force for about two years. They were shot while conducting a vertical patrol in the Bronx, where officers start in the lobby of a public housing project and walk the stairwells up to the roof and back down.
Cruz and Espeut encountered a gunman in the sixth-floor stairwell, and he shot at them, then fled into a seventh-floor apartment. He pulled out a gun and screamed, "I just shot a cop, I'm not going back to jail," then killed himself, police said.
The suspect, 23-year-old Malik Chavis, had 16 prior arrests for crimes including attempted robbery, weapon possession and various drug crimes.