By Jeremy Walsh
The transit police officer seriously wounded by an alleged fare jumper in the Queensbridge subway station last week was released from Elmhurst Hospital Friday morning in a brief ceremony that was short on words but long on applause.
Officer Shane Farina, 38, emerged from the main entrance in a wheelchair after spending almost 10 days recovering from surgery. He was greeted by loved ones and a police contingent that included a bagpipe corps and an honor guard. As the assembled crowd of about 100 police and hospital staff clapped, he stood up and walked quickly across Broadway to a waiting black NYPD Chevy Impala.
Farina, a fourâˆ’year veteran of the police force and father of two, was shot once in the torso during a struggle with a suspect. His partner, Officer Jason Maass, was grazed by a bullet to his lower back and released a day after the shooting.
Asked by reporters about the first thing he would do once he got home, Farina said, “Relax.”
“He’s in great spirits and happy to be getting home to his kids,” said Dario Centorcelli, Elmhurst Hospital’s communications director.
Dr. Unsup Kim, who treated Farina, said the officer was “anxious but otherwise a good patient.”
“He was lucky, because the bullet was right next to a vessel that it missed,” said Kim, noting that the operation to repair the bullet wound took 2 1⁄2 hours. “He’ll be 100 percent physically, but it will take some time to recover from the trauma.”
Farina’s commander, Lt. Gary Abrahall, who shot suspect Raul Nunez after the accused fare jumper allegedly shot both Farina and his partner, Jason Maass, during a struggle on the subway platform, was on hand to see Farina off.
“It’s like Christmas morning,” he said. “I’m a very happy guy. He’s a great cop, he’s a great family man.”
The shooting occurred Oct. 21 at 5:15 p.m. when Nunez, 32, entered the Queensbridge subway station and swiped a student MetroCard for children in public schools, police said.
Abrahall, who was leading a fourâˆ’man, plainclothes crime prevention team on duty in the station, radioed down to Farina and Maass, who were on the subway platform, to arrest Nunez on charges of fare jumping, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
The officers got one handcuff on the suspect before he wrestled them to the ground, knocking one of the officers’ guns loose, Kelly said.
Nunez grabbed the gun and shot each of the officers once before fleeing up an escalator, police said.
He fired three times at Abrahall near the turnstiles before Abrahall returned fire, hitting Nunez four times, Kelly said.
Nunez was arraigned at his bedside in Bellevue Hospital on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and criminal possession of a weapon, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. He allegedly told police he was afraid of being deported again to his native Dominican Republic, authorities said. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by eâˆ’mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 154.