Chicago police officer Danny Golden headed home for the first time since he was paralyzed in a shooting while trying to break up a fight at a bar in Beverly last month.
Golden, who has been at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab since mid-July, left the facility to a crowd of officers, family and friends cheering him on as bagpipes played in the background.
Golden received a police escort as he finally went home Friday. Chicago Ald. Matt O'Shea also asked residents to line streets to "show their support for our home town hero."
"It’s such an unbelievable story. Nearly six weeks ago going from such a terrible tragedy as Danny was being peacemaker that night and the adversity he’s overcome, the strides he’s made, I mean… Danny is going to walk someday," O'Shea said.
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Recent video showed Golden at the rehab facility taking some assisted steps with a walker.
The social media post showing the video was captioned with a quote from the movie "Forrest Gump."
“My mama says they were magic shoes. They could take me anywhere," the description read.
The third-generation CPD officer is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the back. The bullet severed his spinal cord.
Prosecutors say he was off-duty at the time of the shooting and was targeted when he was trying to break up a fight outside a bar in Beverly.
On Friday, a police escort left the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at 10 a.m. and traveled to 103rd Street and Pulaski before stopping.
Along the way, community members crowded parts of Streeterville to cheer him on.
"I cried so much," said resident Marinella Bertucci. "And I don’t even know him that well. But it touched something beyond that I could even imagine."
Golden's Chicago community has come together in more ways than one to show support for the officer and his fiancé, raising more than $1 million through a fundraising campaign, lemonade stands and T-shirt sales. They even started a slogan: "Fight like Golden."
"It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen," said resident Michael Passarelli. "This neighborhood came together and supported a Chicago police officer and a guy - he’s just an outstanding man."
Golden's father, Patrick Golden, said the show of support caught his son by surprise, but also reinforced his desire to live his life to the fullest, despite his setback.
"He’s blown away," Patrick Golden said. "He smiles from ear to ear, great spirits, still in a lot of pain, but this takes away a lot of the pain. I really believe that."