SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – A Pennsylvania state trooper seriously wounded in an ambush at a rural police barracks has been released from a hospital after more than a month of treatment but still faces a long road to recovery, his commander said Friday.
Trooper Alex Douglass left Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton with a police escort on Thursday and was taken by ambulance to a rehabilitation facility.
“I would say his condition is improving. He has a very positive attitude,” said Lt. Christopher Paris, Douglass’ commander at the Blooming Grove barracks. “He’s working very hard with his physical therapist while he was at the hospital, and he’s looking to give the same amount of effort to a full-time rehabilitation regimen.”
A sniper opened fire outside the barracks on Sept. 12, wounding Douglass and killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson. The late-night ambush has sparked an intensive manhunt for Eric Frein, the 31-year-old survivalist and expert marksman charged in the attack.
Police say Frein targeted Dickson and Douglass at random.
Shot in the pelvis, Douglass managed to crawl into the lobby of the barracks, where another trooper brought him into a secure portion of the station. He was flown to Geisinger and underwent surgery.
His departure from the hospital prompted tears among the medical staff.
“It was very emotional for everyone, because they had cared for him for so long,” said Geisinger spokeswoman Wendy Wilson. “There were a lot of hugs, a lot of high-fives and a lot of well-wishes for him on his way.”
Paris said there has been no discussion about Douglass returning to work.
“He endured a very serious injury, both orthopedically and in regards to some of the damage that he had,” he said. “It’s a very long road. He’s taking it one step at a time, and his family is just concentrating on being there for him, as are we.”
Asked if Douglass is walking, Paris said: “I know he has been working with the physical therapist to make strides toward that ultimate goal. Each day, he gets stronger and each day he does more.”
He said Douglass and his family have been buoyed by the public’s concern and support.
Frein has eluded police despite an intense manhunt in the woods around his parents’ home in Canadensis, about 15 miles south of the ambush site.
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