Months after he was critically wounded in a shooting that killed his partner, Chicago Police Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. was released from a rehabilitation center Thursday, with a big celebration.
Officers lined the doorways of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, cheering and holding signs as Yanez was wheeled out in a wheelchair. Bagpipes played, officers saluted and a mariachi band performed as he was escorted to a limousine.
"It's great with all my family and friends thank you for all the support," Yanez said.
Though the moment celebrated his progress, Yanez' family noted that "things will never be the same" as they thanked the crowd for their support.
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"He's come a long way, but he's got a long way to go," said Carlos Yanez Sr., the officer's father, a retired Chicago police officer himself.
Yanez Sr. said his son will be taken to an "undisclosed location" until the family can find a new permanent home. He said he is "happily cautious" about his son's progress.
"He was shot four times, near death a couple of times, very bad and he's come back to this? It's because of God and all of your prayers," he said.
Yanez was wounded in a shooting that took place during a traffic stop in Chicago in August, killing his partner, Officer Ella French.
Emonte Morgan, the man charged in the shooting, appeared before a judge last month, entering a not guilty plea on all 85 counts in connection with the Aug. 7 incident.
The suspect's brother, Eric Morgan, 19, has also been with multiple crimes related to the shooting, accused of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon with a prior conviction.
Late last month, family said Yanez was slowly recovering, but faces a long road ahead.