It was a day of "miracles" for NYPD Officer Kevin Brennan, who walked out of a Manhattan hospital Friday just 10 days after he was shot in the head and went home to hold his baby girl.
"If you don't believe in miracles -- if you took a picture of my son and you saw my son and saw him walk out of that hospital, saw him go into that house, with his daughter -- that's a miracle," said his father, Dave Brennan, 62, outside the officer's home in Garden City Park.
Kevin Brennan, 28, who was shot Jan. 31 during a late-night struggle with a gunman in Bushwick, has said that thinking about his daughter, Maeve, not yet 2 months old, helped pull him through. As he walked toward his front door, he said, "I'm going to hug my daughter right now."
Sitting on his couch with his wife, Janet, Brennan gently rocked Maeve in his arms, his gaze fixed on her.
Soon after arriving, he got a surprise visit from Tuck himself. The star Giants defensive end autographed the jersey.
Tuck came along with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Umberto Corteo, the founder of Umberto's of New Hyde Park. One of Tuck's agents, Rich Salgado, said Tuck was at Umberto's restaurant in New Hyde Park when he said, "Let's go over and say hello and bring him some pizza." Tuck was in town to accept a ceremonial key to Nassau County.
NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, dozens of cheering and applauding officers and police bagpipers greeted Brennan as he was wheeled out of Bellevue Hospital Center Friday afternoon and walked the final 20 yards to a black Chevrolet sedan.
Brennan waved and smiled. The NYPD Pipes & Drums played "Hard Times," a Civil War-era song, and "Rakes of Mallow," a traditional Irish song.
"He is essentially a whole human being after that experience, a miracle, and the miracle continues as you saw him walk out the door," Kelly said. "Anyone who saw it had to have a chill go through their body."
The night of the shooting, Brennan was among three plainclothes officers responding to a call of shots fired. He chased one of three men they saw running, Luis Ortiz, into an apartment building.
Ortiz, 21, allegedly shot Brennan in the right rear of the head with a .38-caliber handgun. The round penetrated the skin and lodged outside his skull, police said.
Ortiz has been charged with first-degree attempted murder and related felonies. If convicted on all counts, he could spend life in prison.
Dr. Ronald Simon, the Bellevue surgeon who removed the bullet, said Brennan suffered mild damage and a loss of some peripheral vision, but could fully recover.
"Considering everything -- that the bullet didn't go in or go through or do some really significant damage . . . [this] is not short of a miracle," Simon said. He added, "I have hopes that his eyesight will return completely."
Brennan, still suffering head and neck discomfort, plans to be an outpatient at a Manhasset rehabilitation facility.
Brennan's father, a retired Con Edison worker, said, "All the thoughts and prayers that everybody had, that prayed for my son, they worked."
So did having "the luck of the Irish," Dave Brennan said.
With The Associated Press