BRAINTREE (CBS) – Braintree Police Officer Bill Cushing was released from South Shore Hospital with a procession Friday morning, a week after he was wounded in a shootout that ended in the death of his K-9 partner Kitt and the gunman.
Cushing had been in the hospital since June 4 when he and Officer Matthew Donoghue were wounded in an exchange of gunfire with 34-year-old Andrew Homen.
Cushing was released shortly after 10 a.m. and was escorted home by his fellow officers and police K-9 family.
The procession passed Braintree Town Hall as people lined the streets, some with thin blue line flags, and continued through South Braintree Square.
Cushing waved to the crowd as he passed by in the passenger seat of a police SUV.
WATCH: #Braintree Police Officer William Cushing thanks community members for their support as he’s escorted home from the hospital. Officers from several communities took part in the procession as well as K-9 officers. Officer Cushing lost his K-9 Kitt in the shooting @wbz pic.twitter.com/lxSjXbrgxc
— Anna Meiler (@AnnaMeiler) June 11, 2021
Braintree resident Kay Young said she knows Officer Cushing and came out to honor him.
“He’s wonderful. The relationship that he had with Kitt is something I think most people don’t understand just because that bond is so very strong,” she told WBZ-TV. “I think it’s important for them to see and feel that everyone is here to support them and that we’re here for the long haul, just like they are.”
“On behalf of the town of Braintree, welcome home Billy,” Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros said in a news conference at City Hall.
Cushing was not there. Police Chief Mark Dubois said the wounded officer had a procedure Friday morning before he left the hospital and that it was “kind of draining for him so he was pretty wiped out.”
“He’s pretty exhausted,” Dubois told reporters. “He’s in great spirits and it looks like he’s making good progress in his recovery.”
Deputy Police Chief Tim Cahoon revealed new details about last Friday’s shooting, saying a third Braintree police officer, Richard Seibert, was also there, but was not wounded. Seibert is a combat medic from the U.S. Army who’s been with the department for 16 years,
“If we were to pick three officers to endure something like this, it would have been those three, for a number of reasons,” Cahoon said.
The officers were responding to a report of a domestic incident at the Braintree Village apartment complex on McCusker Drive. Cushing, Donoghue and K-9 Kitt went into the woods to track down Homen, and “they were essentially ambushed,” according to the chief.
Cushing was shot multiple times in his left arm, Dubois said Friday,
“He’s got a long-term recovery with the injuries he sustained,” the chief said
Donoghue was shot in the shoulder and spent one night in the hospital. His recovery will be shorter, according to Dubois. Both Cushing and Donoghue were wearing bulletproof vests.
“Officer Seibert being trained as a combat medic came into play in a huge way in this incident,” Cahoon revealed Friday.
“Each officer engaged to mitigate this threat, two officers being struck. Officer Seibert was not hit, thankfully, and he was able to immediately, as soon as the threat had been mitigated, he was able to immediately render aid to his fellow officers in the form of trauma first aid and tourniquets that we’ve been carrying as a police department for several years.
“He brought a level of calm to that scene,” the deputy chief said. “As you could imagine, there were a lot of officers that showed up, trying to find him in the woods, and Officer Seibert directed their efforts on scene. And quite frankly, just did a tremendous job. Officers carried out William Cushing, and Officer Donoghue came out walking under his own power.”
K-9 Kitt was shot and died. Homen was killed by police in the shootout.
Cushing had worked 11 years with Kitt, Dubois said.
“To say he was a legend in the K-9 community would be putting it lightly. He will be forever memorialized because of his actions that day,” Cahoon said.
A special ceremony is being planed to honor Kitt, likely in two weeks.