LINDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Linden police officer who was injured in a shootout with the man accused in the bombings in Chelsea and Seaside Park visited an area school Thursday to thank students for their well wishes.
Officer Angel Padilla wiped away tears as he greeted students at Linden School No. 5. Students at the school wrote get well cards for Padilla and Officer Pete Hammer, who were both hurt in Monday’s shootout with Ahmad Khan Rahami.
“I’m grateful for being here today along with partners that were on scene and my daughter,” Padilla said. “Feels good that the kids recognize what it was and it was greatly appreciated.”
Padilla chose to make his first official public appearance since being directly hit in his bullet proof vest.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, the school had been placed on lockdown Monday, while Rahami was being captured.
“When I was in school we had to shelter in place. There was a very bad guy. Officer Hammer, and Officer Angel saved all of us,” Danazsha said.
Some of the students read part of the notes from their get well cards aloud.
“A hero is helping people and saving people,” a third grader named Jonathan read. “Thank you for risking your life for us.”
“Thank you for everything that you did in risking your own life to save us and Linden,” another student named Kensa read.
Padilla is a member of the school’s PTA and involved in events there and in the community. He was shot in the torso, but his bulletproof vest saved him from a more serious injury.
Hammer was grazed in the head by a bullet or shrapnel. Both officers were treated and released from a hospital.
Rahami remains hospitalized.
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