FOLCROFT, Pa. (AP) — A police officer who was shot seven times during a drug investigation exchanged salutes with cheering colleagues as he left a Philadelphia hospital Monday, just three days after the confrontation.
Folcroft Officer Christopher Dorman has endured at least two surgeries since being shot Friday in the face, leg and groin. He was nonetheless able to walk from a wheelchair to a waiting car in a U.S. flag-themed shirt and hat.
The 25-year-old officer had been fired upon as he approached people suspected of smoking marijuana behind an apartment building in the borough of Folcroft, just southwest of Philadelphia.
More than 80 members of law enforcement were on hand to cheer Dorman as he left the hospital. Dozens of police cruisers with flashing lights then escorted him to the Folcroft fire station, where he was welcomed by a crowd of community members.
"I'd like to say thank you to everybody for being there for me and my family and my fellow brothers in blue through this," Dorman said. "Everybody's support means a lot. I appreciate it."
After an hourslong manhunt after the shooting, authorities charged Donte Island with attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Federal authorities had sought Island for nearly a year on parole violations. They say he regularly tested positive for marijuana use. A judge signed a warrant for his arrest in September, but parole officials said they could not find Island at either address he had given, including the Folcroft apartment where he was arrested Friday.
Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal John Patrignani declined to say Monday what efforts had been made to find and arrest Island, citing the ongoing probe of the Dorman shooting. Island had served about nine years in prison following a 2003 gun case.
"I find it appalling that human beings can do this to each other," said George Dorman Jr., Christopher's father, following his son's release.
Dorman said he had been visiting his son the morning of the shooting, when the officer was not initially scheduled to work. Christopher Dorman planned to work a few hours and then grab coffee for the pair.
The officer still has several more surgeries ahead of him, his father said Monday, but he "woke up joking" after his first round — a sure sign he was himself.
"He'll turn his bad situation into something good," the elder Dorman said. "There is no doubt in my mind (he will return to police work)."
On Sunday, country singer Kenny Chesney called Dorman to apologize for wrongly announcing at a concert that the injured officer had died. Dorman had planned to attend Chesney's concert Saturday in Philadelphia before he was wounded.