An NYPD detective who was shot on Staten Island while serving a narcotics warrant has been released from the hospital after suffering a serious, career-threatening injury to his leg.
Detective Dominick M. Libretti, who has been honored a half-dozen times for superior duty over his career, was shot through a door while executing a narcotics warrant on Rockne Street in the New Springville section in the early morning hours of Jan. 21, police said.
He lost a significant amount of blood from the gunshot wound, and was said to be saved by the action of other officers on scene. Police medical officials described his wound as potentially both career- and life-threatening. But on Monday, while surrounded by his family, Libretti was wheeled out of Staten Island University Hospital to applause and cheers from dozens of fellow NYPD officers.
His family was emotional as they embraced the doctors and medical team who took care of Libretti for more than 10 days of treatment.
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"Right now he does need assistance with several medical devices, but hopefully with the long-term therapy, we will hope for the best," said Dr. Michael Cooper, who added that although Libretti has made remarkable progress he still is unable to walk on his own, and has a long road of physical therapy ahead.
"The trauma surgeons who initially evaluated him did a great job with the surgery, and then my team did the reconstruction, so it was a difficult surgery," Dr. Cooper said.
Shooting suspect Nicholas Pizarro (who is on federal probation) was not the target of the search warrant, but began firing after seeing police try to serve the warrant on another bedroom in the house. Sources told NBC New York that he spent three years in prison on drug charges, and didn't want to go back.
Libretti was holding a ballistic shield when he was shot, but continued to protect other officers.
"Even with a serious leg wound, bleeding badly enough that fellow officers had to apply immediate pressure to slow the blood loss, he held the ballistic shield in front of his team to protect them from gunfire," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell in the aftermath of the shooting.
Multiple members of the narcotics team returned fire through the bedroom door, in order to get Pizarro to stop firing. He was struck in the leg.
The house had been under surveillance for weeks for drug activity, an official with direct knowledge of the investigation said. The subject of the search warrant, Anthony Marshall, is accused of selling crack and cocaine from the home, with prior arrests in New York and New Jersey. He was arrested without incident.
Police said that Pizarro is facing multiple charges including attempted murder.