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Officer Nearly Killed In Shootout With Marathon Bombing Suspects: ‘I Did Die’

By Bobby Sisk, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Transit Police Officer Richard Donohue, who was critically injured during a shootout with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, is telling his story to CBS News.

From his hospital room in Cambridge, Donohue told CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller he is anxious to get back to work. He said he’d take a desk job until he’s able to go back to patrol.

Donohue was essentially dead after being shot and losing most of his blood within minutes. “I did, I did die, yeah,” he said in his first interview since he was shot April 19.

Donohue was hit in the groin during a firefight with the bombing suspects on Laurel Street in Watertown. His femoral artery was severed. He bled out. His heart stopped and he stopped breathing.

Just three hours before, he’d arrived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his friend, MIT Police Officer Sean Collier had been killed. He didn’t know Collier’s shooting was related to the marathon bombings until later when shots rang out in Watertown.

“At first it was, no. It was this just appeared to be some crazy random act of … act of violence,” he said of the night Collier was shot. “There was gunfire being exchanged and once they started throwing the bombs or improvised explosive devices that I guess … you don’t even need to say a word, you’re like this is it, these are the guys.”

When Donohue was hit in Watertown, his partner jumped into action. “My partner tackled me just to get me down, and it was in front of someone’s driveway, and you know he applied pressure trying to figure out where I was shot,” he recalled.

The gravely wounded officer was rushed to Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. Soon, his wife, Kim, heard the doorbell ring at their home.

“I immediately opened the door and I just said, ‘You are my worst nightmare,’” she told Miller. “It was the first thing I said to him. I said I know why you’re here. You better tell me if Dic is dead right now. I said, ‘I don’t want you in this house. Don’t come past the door.’ I said tell me if Dic is dead. He said, ‘He’s not dead.’”

It wasn’t until later at the hospital that Kim Donohue realized how close she’d come to losing her husband.

“I didn’t understand the severity of what had happened until a doctor pulled me aside and said, ‘Well, we just got his heart back.’

“I said, ‘What? What do you mean?’ They said, ‘We just got his pulse back.’

“I said, ‘He was shot almost an hour ago. What do you mean you just got his pulse back?’” she told Miller.

Hospital staff then handed her his wedding ring, his badge and his phone. She was in disbelief.

Not even a month later, her husband is on the road to recovery, using crutches to walk around the hospital. Once he’s on solid food, Donohue will move from intensive care to start physical therapy.

Kim Donohue said there is a silver lining to the couple’s ordeal.

“When Dic gets out of the ICU and when he feels better, this will ultimately be the best thing that has ever happened to us. We will never not enjoy a day. We will never not enjoy a hug or a kiss, and my hope is once he returns to normal he will only remember the good from this,” she said.

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