A local police officer who was shot while trying to arrest a suspected car thief was released from the hospital and honored by his fellow officers Thursday morning.
Around 10:15 a.m. Officer Anthony Augustine was discharged from Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, where he was recuperating from a gunshot wound suffered during a police chase late on the night of October 11.
Police say Augustine was chasing 22-year-old Jamal Booker, who allegedly stole a 2002 Toyota Camry earlier that evening. Augustine caught up to Booker at a wooded area near Elmcrest Circle, which is when Booker reportedly fired upon Augustine, hitting him once in the left chest.
On Thursday morning, a large contingent of police officers from a dozen agencies were in attendance to send Augustine home from the hospital.
CNY Central reporter Jim Kenyon says Augustine entered a police SUV accompanied by his family, and as the SUV drove down a blocked off Sarah Logan Street Augustine was seen waving to his fellow officers who were saluting him. Kenyon says an extensive motorcade escorted Augustine back to Ithaca, where he will recuperate at his home.
Ithaca Police Lt. Vincent Monticello held a news conference after Officer Augustine??s departure where he thanked numerous individuals, police agencies, rescue personnel, and hospital staff for ??saving his (Augustine??s) life.??
Monticello revealed the wound to Augustine??s chest was so grave that he may have bled to death if rescue personnel not been trained to deal with combat injuries. Medics used a special clotting agent to stop the blood loss.
Augustine underwent two surgeries while receiving treatment at University Hospital. He also suffered a collapsed lung and a minor stroke, which has left him with impaired use of his left arm.
Monticello also said that the Ithaca Police Department is especially upset that Booker had recently been released by a judge ??on a technicality?? even though he was facing an attempted murder charge for a shooting that took place in 2011.
Booker was later arrested at an apartment on Chestnut Street after an extensive police search. He has been charged with felony aggravated assault of a police officer and felony criminal use of a firearm. He is currently in jail on $500,000 bail.