An Ithaca police officer shot in the line of duty has returned home. Anthony Augustine, 44, spent the last week hospitalized after he was shot in the chest during a pursuit. Our Katie Gibas was there when Officer Augustine was released from the hospital and joined us from the newsroom with the latest.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- It's been a tough week for the Ithaca community as they waited to learn the status of police officer Anthony Augustine. He was shot in the line of duty during a pursuit last week.
"It's been an emotional roller coaster all week. And actually our agency, we've taken a beating over the last couple of years. We've had five attacks on our police officers in the last two-and-a-half years,” said Lt. Vincent Monticello of the Ithaca Police Department.
Office Augustine was in the hospital for just under a week. He underwent two surgeries. He also suffered a minor stroke that's affected his vision and some of his hand and arm movement.
"He's doing well. He continues to recover. We expect he'll make a full recovery," Monticello said. "He's a great officer. He's great to work for. I want him back on my platoon. I look forward to him coming back to work."
Augustine was discharged and walked out of Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse Thursday morning. A hundred person motorcade of police, EMS and the Patriot Guard escorted him back to Ithaca.
Monticello said, "We're like one big family and it really helps when we have that much support."
And it was a warm reception in Ithaca. Cayuga Radio Group, along with Ithaca Agway and Cayuga Lumber, created a get well card that's seven feet tall and over six feet wide.
Cayuga Radio Group News Director Geoff Dunn said, "We're thinking that this giant card is a great way to help in his recovery. He's going to feel very good about the support that he's going to receive from the community. Really, a thank you for everything that he does for the fact that he and all of the officers put their lives on the line everyday to protect their community."
Residents are encouraged to sign it at various locations around Ithaca. The card is fitted with a drop box slot for people to make direct contributions to support Officer Augustine's recovery.
The man accused of shooting Officer Augustine remains in custody awaiting grand jury action. Jamel Booker, 22, is currently charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and criminal use of a firearm. The case will go before the grand jury sometime next month