1 of 2 NYPD officers shot in the Bronx leaves hospital

Officer Patrick Espeut gave a thumbs up before leaving the hospital.

Officer Patrick Espeut gave a thumbs up before leaving the hospital. (2/5/16)

NEW YORK - One of the two NYPD officers shot in the Bronx Thursday night has been released from the hospital.

Police say Officer Diara Cruz, 24, and Officer Patrick Espeut, 29, were both shot inside a stairwell in the Melrose Houses on East 156th Street around 8 p.m. Thursday when the officers encountered two suspects.

According to police, the officers were on a vertical patrol when Officer Cruz was shot in the torso just below her bulletproof vest. Officer Espeut was shot in the cheek. They were both transported to Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center.

Dozens of fellow officers and officials lined up outside the hospital Friday afternoon as Espeut was released. He stood up from his wheelchair, walked to a van presumed to have driven him home and gave the audience a thumbs up before leaving.

Officer Cruz will remain in the hospital for at least a couple of days, according to PBA President Patrick Lynch. He says the NYPD needs more staffing in order to better train younger officers and pair them with more experienced members.

The shootings prompted a massive police response. The NYPD says the suspects ran into a seventh-floor apartment. When police entered the apartment, they say they discovered 23-year-old Malik Chavis, who had apparently committed suicide.

Police say they recovered a handgun and a shotgun from the apartment.

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