NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD officer shot and wounded in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn earlier this week is recovering at home after being released from the hospital.
Smiling from ear to ear, Officer Hart Nguyen gave a big thumbs up on his way out of Jamaica Hospital Friday, his right arm still in a sling. With his wife Lana by his side, Nguyen headed home less than 24 hours after being shot three times – one bullet striking his right arm, two more stopped by a bullet proof vest.
“Face the facts, we’re lucky he survived,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Friday.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman visited Nguyen for an exclusive interview Saturday.
The 30-year-old was sporting a much smaller bandage on the bullet wound, and his family was helping to heal the rest.
“I’m being mentally supported by my family, and my friends and everyone from my precinct and the department,” he said.
Nguyen was responding to a 911 call in Cypress Hills from a mother claiming her son was emotionally disturbed but neither armed nor violent. She was wrong.
Cellphone video shows Nguyen bleeding moments after authorities say Andy Sookdeo opened fire with a .380 caliber semi-automatic.
“The original intention why I came to the apartment was to help him,” he said.
That compassionate nature is what first attracted Nguyen to the job, which he started only two years ago.
“I wanted to help the community. I wanted to help everyone I know. I wanted to help everywhere I could give,” he said.
For now, Nguyen is helping take care of his two children.
You’d never see it from how he plays with them, but the officer’s wife says recovery has been hard for both.
“He’s in pain, his arm is in pain,” Lana said. “I’m holding up.”
But having their family together after facing such danger is something to smile about.
“I’m always happy. It’s how I am,” Nguyen said. “It’s just my personality. It’s who I am.”
In all the danger and uncertainty, Nguyen never returned fire. For that, many of his colleagues, city officials and regular New Yorkers are praising his restraint and valor.