February 10, 2016 | 5:30pm   


Shot cop hailed with flowers and cheers upon hospital release

By Kevin Fasick

More than a hundred NYPD officers gathered at a Bronx hospital this afternoon, clapping and cheering as a cop who was shot while patrolling a public-housing complex was finally released.

Officer Diara Cruz, 24, wiped away tears as her partner, 29-year-old Patrick Espeut, pushed her wheelchair out of Lincoln Hospital, while bagpipes played and fellow cops handed her flowers.

Espeut was also injured during the same attack.

“She’s doing great. She’s doing great,” a fellow officer said prior to her jubilant release, which was attended by the NYPD color guard.

“Thank God this is the outcome,” another cop said. “It could have been so much worse.”

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch called it a “terrific day.”

“We have this police officer, who heroically on the street did her job, unfortunately got shot, but today got out of that wheelchair and walked,” he said.

“She’s what a New York City cop’s all about. And we’re so pleased that today’s the day when we’re leaving here and we’re clapping our hands rather than saluting.”

Cruz was whisked away from the hospital in a black van with help from Espeut.

The officers were patrolling the Melrose Houses on East 156th Street last week when Malik Chavis, 23, fired at them before running into a seventh-floor apartment, where he turned the gun on himself, police said.

Cruz took a bullet to the abdomen, while Espeut was shot in the cheek. He was released from the hospital on Friday.