Two NYPD officers from Long Island, wounded this week in a shootout with a domestic violence suspect, were released from a Queens hospital late Thursday morning — just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families and friends.
Bagpipes skirled and drums boomed as Officers Joseph Murphy of Nassau and Christopher Wells of Suffolk, both in wheelchairs, left Jamaica Hospital Medical Center as family, friends and dozens of NYPD colleagues, some in uniform, others in plainclothes, clapped and cheered. Wells’ wife clutched the couple’s newborn infant as she followed her husband and Murphy out of the hospital.
"We are just so grateful that these officers are going to be able to get home today, sit on the couch, watch some football with their beautiful families," NYPD Commissoner Dermot Shea said at the hospital. "It is not lost on us how lucky we are."
The wounded cops were hailed earlier this week as heroes by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who credited them with saving the life of a domestic violence victim.
"It is the best Thanksgiving that any of us has ever had," Wells' wife Leslie told News12 Long Island after the injured cop returned home to celebrate the holiday with his family.
The officer's father was equally sanguine.
"We are obviously very grateful to have our son back," Richard Wells told News12 Long Island.
Murphy and Wells were shot Tuesday while investigating a domestic violence complaint at a residence in Queens, NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea said earlier this week. Wells was hit with a bullet in the right thigh and suffered a fractured femur. Murphy suffered injuries to both hands and will require additional surgery.
Murphy said he was "extra thankful" as he gave reporters a thumbs-up with his bandaged right hand and climbed into a black van.
Rondell Goppy, 41, the man who police said opened fire on Murphy and Wells, was shot multiple times by the officers and pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators are trying to determine why the NYPD returned three guns to Goppy, who worked as a peace officer for the City University of New York, despite a history of domestic violence.
CUNY officials have not returned repeated calls for comment.
The shooting occurred shortly after Goppy’s wife, Sharon, 41, filed a domestic violence report at the 105th Precinct about an incident that took place Monday night, police said. At a news conference at the Jamaica hospital Tuesday, Shea said there had been previous calls to police from the couple's home about domestic violence incidents. Goppy did not have a prior criminal record, police said.
Sharon Goppy, accompanied by Murphy and Wells, returned to her residence on 179th Street in Springfield Gardens at about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, Shea said. Goppy was not at home when they arrived, but about six minutes later he returned and began shooting at the officers "almost instantaneously," Shea said.
Murphy and Wells returned fire, hitting Goppy multiple times, Shea said. His wife was not injured.
The couple had been married for 17 years and lived at the residence for 15, Shea said, adding they had children who were not home at the time of the incident.
Police said two firearms were found at the scene: an empty Glock 9 mm, which had been fired, and another handgun that had not been used. A third weapon was later recovered.
A law enforcement source said Tuesday that Goppy’s three licensed firearms were removed from the home due to his domestic violence history. But they were returned to him recently by the NYPD, which determined he was fit to have the guns, the source said.