New York Daily News

February 5, 2016, 5:49 PM

  

 

NYPD officer Patrick Espeut leaves Bronx hospital after shot in face, nearly killed in ambush at NYCHA housing complex

BY CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, LEONARD GREENE

MICHAEL SCHWARTZ/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Officer Patrick Espeut, who was shot last night, leaves Lincoln Hospital.

With bagpipes wailing, and relieved cops applauding like they were at a concert, a police officer shot in the face in a harrowing gun battle emerged from a Bronx hospital Friday genuinely happy to be alive.

“I feel good,” Patrick Espeut shouted, better than James Brown ever did, as he traded high fives and hugs merely 16 hours after he was nearly killed in an ambush in the stairwell of a NYCHA housing complex.

He only wished that his partner, Diara Cruz, could be leaving too and sharing the moment with him. Cruz, who was shot in the torso, remained hospitalized in stable condition.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton posed for photos with Espeut in his room at Lincoln Hospital, relieved to be posting pictures on social media instead of preparing for another police funeral.

“Proud of Officers Cruz & Espeut,” Bratton tweeted with his picture post before Espeut was released. “Happy to see them both doing well.”

Espeut was rolled out in a wheelchair through an emergency room door at the back of the hospital as hundreds of cops from across The Bronx lined up for the 29-year-old cop.

MICHAEL SCHWARTZ/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
“Proud of Officers Cruz & Espeut,” Bratton tweeted with his picture post before Espeut was released. “Happy to see them both doing well.”

Espeut sported a black mark on his nose where the bullet struck before grazing his cheek. He rose from the wheelchair and got into an unmarked police van with several family members.

"This goes to show what police officers face each and everyday, especially when they're working in our housing complexes, especially during vertical patrols," said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said. "You never know what you're going to encounter in those stairwells.

"On patrol, doing their job in the stairwell and next thing they're being shot at and they're fighting for their lives," he continued. "Fortunately today we had a police officer that walked out of here but he was shot in the face."

Lynch said Cruz, 24, was had undergone surgery, and remained in intensive care. She was expected to remain at the hospital "for a number of days," Lynch said.