An Ontario police officer and his fiance, both of whom were shot in the Las Vegas outdoor concert attack, were greeted by members of law enforcement, the fire department and the community Friday afternoon when they returned to Southern California.
Officer Michael Gracia, 24, was in critical condition after he was shot in the head Sunday at the Route 91 music festival when a man opened from from the 32nd floor of a nearby high-rise hotel. Gracia's girlfriend Summer Clyburn suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Ontario police tweeted a photo of Gracia in a wheelchair early Friday and Clyburn as they left a Las Vegas hospital. After their plane arrived at the airport east of Los Angeles, the couple walked down the aircraft steps to cheer and hugs on the tarmac in an emotional reunion that followed a week of hoping for the best.
"It's incredible. To have such a strong recovery already give us great hope that he's going to be fine," said Ontario Police Sgt. Bill Russell.
The crowd that gathered at the airport Friday represented another sign of support from the community, he said.
"People who don't even know Mike are here to support him," Russell said.
Russell described Gracia as a hard worker and "quiet guy" who just "does his job."
The four-year veteran started with the police department as a cadet working in the jail before fulfilling his dream of becoming a patrol officer. He was one of several members of Southern California law enforcement agencies at the country music concert Sunday.
Gracia will undergo rehabilitation in Southern California.