A California Highway Patrol officer was released from the hospital Thursday after being critically injured in a wild shootout on the 215 Freeway in August.
Officer Robert Paul left the hospital surrounded by his colleagues, making his way through a gauntlet of hugs and admiring smiles.
"To see one of our officers recovering, after all he's been through, is absolutely beautiful and we're all excited," said CHP Officer Ramon Duran.
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Paul has had multiple surgeries and spent months in physical therapy, and those who know him say his determination will only help in his recovery.
"He's got a huge heart, he’s a likeable guy, everyone on the shift really likes having him around," said CHP Officer Dan Olivas.
Olivas was there the day a traffic stop on the 215 Freeway in Riverside turned into a deadly gunfight. On August 12, CHP Officer Andre Moye was shot and killed by a driver he pulled over. Though mortally wounded, he managed to call to help.
Multiple officers responded, including Paul and his colleague Ryan Smith, who was also injured in the fight.
The 12-minute shootout, seen by dozens of horrified drivers who took cover as bullets flew, ended when the gunman died. Moye was taken to the hospital, where he soon died from his injuries.
Hundreds of CHP officers gathered a week after the shootout to mourn Moye, a 34-year-old described as fun-loving and committed to public service.
But Thursday, they gathered to celebrate another of their fellow officers – a man grateful to be alive.
It is not known whether Paul, who joined the CHP in 2015, will work another shift in a patrol car. But Thursday he was in one as a passenger, escorted home by his fellow officers.