STONY BROOK, N.Y. - Suffolk police officer Michael LaFauci was wheeled out of Stony Brook Hospital on Thursday - just a week after getting shot in the upper thigh during a confrontation with an alleged gang member and a career criminal in Coram.
LaFauci is headed home with his fiancée and 17-month-old baby girl thanks to medicine and what doctors call a miracle.
As hundreds cheered for LaFauci - his family expressed gratitude.
Some of his fellow officers who came out to show their support - were credited for quick, lifesaving medical treatment immediately after the shooting.
"Pulled up on the scene, put the tourniquet on, kind of went back to my training," said patrol officer Doug Gaul.
The bullet missed arteries by just inches, but it shouldn’t have even happened according to Suffolk’s PBA President Noel DiGerolamo who says there are still flaws in the state’s bail system.
"This defendant was saved by a Suffolk Police officer out of a burning car only to return the favor of attempting to kill one," he said.
LaFauci, a six-year member of the department, was staking out a robbery suspect’s home.
His work according to his sergeant is a testament to the type of person he is.
"Guys don’t get in that spot, six years on the job unless they’re diligent, hardworking," said Sgt. David Ferrara.
"Mike is a hero," said police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.
Doctors say it’ll be a long road for LaFauci. While the full range of motion may never happen, what he’s done in a short week is extremely promising.
With intense therapy and prayers, the hope is for him to one day return to work.