Braintree police Officer Bill Cushing headed home from the South Shore Hospital with an escort Friday morning, one week after a shootout that killed his police dog.
Cushing, his K-9 Kitt and fellow officer Matt Donoghue were shot several times when responding to a domestic situation near an apartment complex last week. Donoghue was released from Boston Medical Center Saturday. K-9 Kitt was shot to death by the suspect.
Investigators say Andrew Homen, 34 of Brockton, ambushed the officers and Kitt in the woods near an apartment complex. The firefight ended with Kitt and the suspect dead.
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"The hard part is he's going to go home, and Kitt isn't going to be there," Braintree Police Chief Mark Dubois said at a community gathering earlier this week. "There's a lot for Bill to deal with."
Dubois said Friday that Cushing was shot multiple times in the arm and has a "long road to recovery." Donohue, who rode in the next car in Friday's motorcade, was shot in the shoulder and is doing well.
Cushing was escorted home by a police detail, with public works crews and other first responders positioned along the route. The cheered and clapped for Cushing as he waved out the window of an unmarked police car.
Cushing was driven through a sea of American flags, including an oversized blue line flag hung from the ladder of a fire truck along the way.
Also in the motorcade was Officer Robert Sibert, the cop credited by the Braintree police chief with saving Cushing’s life in the woods by applying a tourniquet.
The Braintree Police Department called the show of support "overwhelming," especially considering people had just a couple of hours notice that Cushing would be released.
The procession, lead by motorcycles and cruisers flashing their blue lights, began when Cushing left South Shore Hospital.
The motorcade came off Route 3 at Exit 40 (old Exit 17) at the Union Street Rotary. It proceeded down Union Street, then turned left on Washington Street and took Cushing past the Town Hall. The procession continued through South Braintree Square and turned right at the Washington/Hancock/Pearl Street.
Friends like Kay Young said they will be there for Cushing through his recovery.
“The relationship he had with Kitt is something most people don’t understand, so more than physical healing and emotional healing," Young said. "It’s important to show that we are here to support and in for the long haul just like they are.”
Braintree police said Kitt "went out a lion, protecting your dad and his partners." Kitt was a 12-year member of the force, spending all of that time with Cushing.
Tributes for Kitt have poured in on social media from police and fire departments across the Bay State. Gov. Charlie Baker and Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros also weighed in on the tragedy Saturday.
Services for Kitt haven't been planned yet. The Braintree Police Department was waiting on Cushing to get out of the hospital.