What to Know
- An NYPD officer who was placed in a medically-induced coma after a deadly incident at a Brooklyn salon woke up on Sunday
- Officer Lesly Lafontant was injured when he was hit over the head with a metal chair by 33-year-old Kwesi Ashun
- Lafontant, 53, shot and killed Ashun who interfered while officers were trying to arrest another man
The veteran NYPD officer involved in a deadly shooting at a Brooklyn salon last week woke up from a medically induced coma on Sunday, and was released from the hospital a day later, the department confirmed to News 4.
Officer Lesly Lafontant, 53, was injured when 33-year-old Kwesi Ashun struck him in the head with a chair at the Gold Mine nail salon in Brownsville on Friday.
The attack on Lafontant came when he and other NYPD officers were attempting to arrest Dewayne Hawkes, 26, who was reportedly urinating on the salon's floor, according to police. That's when Ashun noticed the commotion in the salon and went inside.
Police say Ashun got into a struggle with officers and they attempted to taze him but it failed to stop him. Ashun then grabbed a metal chair and hit Lafontant over the head, police said.
The officer then fired six shots at Ashun, killing him.
Lafontant, a 21-year veteran of the department, was discharged from Brookdale Hospital on Monday to throngs of supporters and more than 100 fellow members of the NYPD. His quick recovery and release comes as bit of a surprise, as doctors who treated him initially believed he may be in the hospital for some time.
The officer, with his eyes still swollen after have multiple bones broken in his face, smiled and waved while blowing kisses as he headed for home with his wife and four children.
Doctors believe Lafontant will make a full recovery, as he's already to speak and eat on his own just 36 hours out from being in the coma.
"He was actually very lucky.. he had a horrible injury .. major damage to facial bones, but fortunately, no damage to his brain and that really led to a much more rapid recovery," said Dr. David Rose, the Chief Medical Officer at Brookdale Hospital.
Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to investigate the death of Ashun, whose family says he had a mental illness.
"This is a very serious situation but the one thing that we know from the information we have so far is the civilian assaulted a police officer violently and that is not acceptable," de Blasio said Saturday.
Meanwhile in Brownsville, there was a gathering Monday night of about 75 people outside the nail salon where Ashun was killed, with his sister saying through tears that she just wants answers and a thorough investigation.
"This loss is extremely devastating for our entire family...our friends and this entire community," she said. "My brother was not an out-of-control individual. The people in his life that love him were not afraid of him, becuase he was peaceful."
Despite wishing for an investigation, those at vigil also said they were praying for the best for Officer Lafontant.
A state legislator from Brooklyn was in the area at the time of the shooting and described a scene of "mayhem."
"Children were running," Assemblywoman Latrice Walker said. "Families were afraid. My daughter was screaming."
She added, "Our community is definitely traumatized today because this was a senseless death."
On additional front, the man who reportedly started the whole incident has been released from jail, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said Sunday.
This is the latest in a string of police-involved shootings across the city in recent weeks. There have been six police-involved shootings across New York City since the end of September, five of which have now been fatal.