SOMERVILLE (CBS) – Doctors said he was near death.
Somerville’s mayor called it a miracle.
Despite being shot several times at close range nine days ago, Somerville police officer Mario Oliveira left the hospital Thursday morning nearly fully recovered.
But less than two hours after going home, he had to return to the hospital briefly because some of his stitches became loose.
Earlier in the day, in an emotional ceremony, he left Massachusetts General Hospital in a wheelchair alongside his wife, father, and brother. Oliveira silently held onto his wife’s hand as Somerville Police Chief Michael Cabral read a statement on Oliveira’s behalf.
“The purpose of statement is to offer thanks,” Cabral said as he listed Oliveira’s family, fellow law enforcement officers, and doctors at MGH.
Oliveira was trying to serve an arrest warrant on 21-year-old Matthew Krister last Tuesday as part of an illegal gun sales investigation.
He was with fellow Somerville police officers and ATF agents when authorities say Krister opened fire, striking Oliveira several times in the chest and stomach.
Officers fired back, killing Krister.
Oliveira was rushed to MGH where doctors performed emergency surgery.
“When Mario came to us he was dying of mulitple gunshot wounds in the chest and abdomen,” said Dr. David King who treated Oliveira.
Surrounded by a crowd of fellow officers, family, and other law enforcement officials, Oliveira was then escorted home.
He is a nine-year veteran of the department with numerous awards including officer of the year in 2005.
Oliveira was not wearing a bullet proof vest at the time of the shooting.
The department did not comment on the specific reason he was not wearing one.
The current policy provides the vests to officers but makes it optional for officers to wear them.
Chief Cabral said they are “considering” changing the policy.