Linden cops return home after shootout with bombing suspect (WATCH)
LINDEN — Police Officer Angel Padilla came home from the hospital on Monday night hours after taking a shot in the chest from suspected terrorist Ahmad Khan Rahami.
Officer Pete Hammer, whose head was grazed by bullet or shrapnel in the exchange of gunfire with Rahami, 28, was released Tuesday from University Hospital in Newark, according to Linden police Capt. James Sarnicki.
Padilla was shot in the torso but survived thanks to his bulletproof vest,
Sarnicki said Hammer, a 22-year-veteran who is a detective in the traffic bureau and a firearms instructor, will get a motorcycle escort home from Linden police.
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Fifteen-year-veteran Padilla works in the patrol division, according to Sarnicki, who said the bi-lingual officer is active with the Police Unity Tour to Washington that brings attention to law enforcement officers who have have died in the line of duty.
The officers were not giving interviews and authorities asked the media to respect their privacy.
The Union County Prosecutor's Office, which as charged Rahami with five counts of attempted murder on police officers, issued a statement thanking the public for their concern with the officers.
"The entire law enforcement community here in Union County is deeply touched by the immense outpouring of support from across the country for the efforts of all five responding officers, who exhibited tremendous courage in an extremely volatile situation," prosecutors said Wednesday.
Sarnicki said that Linden schools were kept on lockdown for three hours on Monday following Rahami's arrest out of caution as there was a large active crime scene with a lot of uncertainties.
"We didn't know whether there were other people involved with this, whether there was cars involved, whether there were explosive devices planted around town," Sarnicki said.
The FBI remained active in Linden Tuesday morning and continued to process evidence on a still-closed Elizabeth Avenue where Rahami shot Padilla and Hammer.
Rahami has been charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday. He was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Federal charges have not yet been filed.
Rahami began firing at Padilla and Hammer outside a bar on East Elizabeth Avenue around 10:30 a.m. Monday and was eventually taken into custody.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.