NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An NYPD officer critically injured in a deadly confrontation at a Brooklyn nail salon is out of the hospital.
He was hit in the head with a metal chair by a suspect before the officer opened fire, killing the man.
Emerging from a medically induced coma, 53-year-old NYPD officer Lesly LaFontant left Brookdale Hospital to a thunderous wave of applause from a sear of blue, mere days after suffering the vicious attack.
Watch: Officer Lafontant Cheered As He Leaves The Hospital
“I think we got to thank God for him being alive today,” said Capt. Craig Edelman of the 73rd Precinct.
The 21-year NYPD veteran was hospitalized Friday, barely alive, after he and his partner attempted to make an arrest at a nail salon in Brownsville.
That’s when a second man, 33-year-old Kwesi Ashun, who friends say struggles with bipolar disorder, intervened and smashed officer LaFontant over the head and in the face with a metal chair, leaving him critically injured.
Police say tasing the man didn’t work, so LaFontant fired six times in self-defense, killing Ashun.
After several days of clinging to life himself, LaFontant is now well enough to go home, accompanied by his family. His recovery is described as nothing short of remarkable, considering his terrible injuries.
“It was a real, severe trauma to his face,” said Dr. David Rose, chief medical officer of Brookdale Hospital. “And broken bones in the facial structure.”
Friends of Ashun say he was on medication and had been arrested before for attacking a police officer.
There are reports that Ashun’s family had asked for help from the city regarding his mental health, but were told that he appeared nonviolent and was not considered a threat.
“We understand the family’s grief because they begged for help, and the city’s not giving that help. People deserve help,” Lynch said.
De Blasio has pledged the city would investigate that claim.
Source told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport LaFontant faces a long and extensive recovery but hope that he might one day return to the force.
LaFanotant’s smile on his face as he left the hospital showed how grateful he was to be going home to his wife and four children.
CBS2 reached out to the press office for the New York City Council for comment and has not received a response as yet.
It was the fifth officer-involved shooting for NYPD in the last two weeks.