Growing up in India, Mohit Arora loved to watch cop shows on TV -- so enamored with the high-speed chases and complex investigations that he settled early on his dream of becoming a police officer.
That childhood desire to become a cop has seen him through two death-defying incidents during his six years on the Nassau force, family members said -- being shot early Wednesday by a suspected burglar in North New Hyde Park and his squad car flipping over during a chase on the Cross Island Parkway a few years ago.
"He's got the injuries two times," said his sister Reena Anand, 35, a women's boutique owner from Dix Hills, as she prepared to visit her brother at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset Wednesday afternoon. "I know he's so brave. We are so proud of him."
As family members breathed a sigh of relief after his second on-duty close call, the 32-year-old officer recovered in the hospital -- in pain but in high spirits, visitors said.
James Carver, the Nassau Police Benevolent Association president, visited Arora, who was "in a lot of pain" but still concerned about the job.
"He's happy that the suspects were caught," said Carver. "He's a great cop -- very conscientious."
Arora, who likes to play cricket and work out at the gym, moved to Bellerose, Queens, from New Delhi with his family when he was about 16, family members said. He graduated from Martin Van Buren High School and studied at Nassau Community College.
But his childhood police dreams beckoned despite concerns from his family about the dangers involved in law enforcement, and he entered the NYPD's police academy in 2004. He joined the city's police force as a patrolman the next year.
Hoping to work closer to home than his Long Island City precinct, he joined the Nassau Police Department. After his squad car overturned during a chase, he was hospitalized with back injuries and was out of work for a few months, his family said. But, they added, he was determined to get back to work.
"He's very brave," said his uncle, Dinesh Kumar, 63, of Bellerose. "These two incidents show his dedication to the job."
At Arora's Bellerose home, where he lives with his parents, mother Shashi Arora, 59, prepared a meal for her son, who expressed his distaste for hospital food.
She cooked lentils and chapati, an Indian flatbread -- her son's favorite.
"He wants to eat," she said.
With Anthony M. DeStefano