FORKED RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Linden, New Jersey, police officer injured in the shootout with bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami returned home Tuesday.
CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Officer Peter Hammer is home in Forked River after getting released from the hospital.
“I appreciate the overwhelming concern, but I need time to recover, I was shot in the forehead,” Hammer said.
Hammer, a 22-year veteran of the force, was hit by shrapnel bullet fragments while he was behind the wheel of his police vehicle responding to a report of a man sleeping in the entrance of a bar. The man turned out to be Rahami.
Shots were fired and a gun battled ended with the capture of the suspected bomber.
“Feeling like I got shot in the head. I’m glad to be alive and I’m glad to be home,” Hammer said.
Hammer arrived at his Forked River home where there was a stream of red, white and blue balloons and American flags in his yard greeting him.
“He’s a real humble guy, he’s a real nice person. I just hope for the best for him and his family,” neighbor Mark Mindus said.
“I appreciate all of the concern,” Hammer said. “I spoke to the president, the director of the FBI, everybody’s concern is overwhelming to me.”
Officer Angel Padilla, who was first on the scene, took a direct hit to his bulletproof vest and was released from the hospital Monday night.
Two men in Elizabeth, Ivan White and Lee Parker, also played a role in the apprehension of Rahami after they found a bag of explosives late Sunday night.
“He said, ‘You need to take a look at this, you need to take a look at this.’ So I picked up the bag, looked at it, we started walking and I put the bag down and looked inside it one more time and said, ‘This is a bomb. We need to go get the police,’” White said.
The evidence led to Rahami’s arrest.
CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported there are other heroes in this story, including the woman who found the second bomb before it went off in Chelsea, and business owner Harry Bains, who had a hunch the suspicious man sleeping in the doorway Monday morning might be the bombing suspect.
“I just did what every, any American would have done, any American citizen would have done,” Bains said. “That’s what I did.”
Federal authorities have filed several charges against Rahami.