April 19, 2013— -- Richard Donohue Jr., the MBTA police officer who was seriously wounded in a chase and shootout with the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, had, as they say in Boston, "a wicked sense of humor," according to his college friend.
Jake Copty, who knew Donohue as "Dic" from their days at the Virginia Military Institute, told ABCNews.com in an email that the injured officer was a "fun and laid back cadet."
Donohue was injured last night when police pulled over a carjacked Mercedes SUV with the alleged bombing suspects inside. Donohue had a critical wound to his thigh but is now reportedly in stable condition at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, according to authorities.
The 33-year-old lives in Woburn with his wife, Kimberly, and their 7-month-old son. Donohue was a police academy student alongside MIT patrol officer Sean Collier, 26, who was slain on the campus Thursday night.
Collier was shot about 10:29 p.m. as he sat in his police cruiser, according to authorities. Police received a call shortly afterward that a vehicle had been carjacked on Memorial Drive.
A short time later, a transit officer spotted the vehicle and pursued a chase west that came to a stop in Watertown. Authorities said 200 rounds were fired by both police and bomber suspects Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in the gunfire exchange.
Collier and Donohue were "actually really good friends" in the 26-member MBTA Police Academy class they were in together three years ago, according to the Boston Herald.
In a statement today, the MBTA said Donohue had faced "extraordinary danger" and "never hesitated in fully engaging the terrorists in order to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth."
"I am extremely proud of him, and cannot say enough about his heroic actions," said MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan. "There has been a tremendous outpouring of support, and the Donohue family wants to thank all of those who have offered their prayers and support."
"Officer Donohue represents the best that the law enforcement profession has to offer, and he exemplifies the dedication and commitment of the MBTA Transit Police Department," he said.
MacMillan also offered "prayers and support" to both the Donohue family and that of Sean Collier.
Neighbors of the Donohue family in Woburn said the injured officer was athletic and a runner.
"The fact that he is in good shape is giving me hope that he would be all right," Linda Mawn told the Boston Globe.
Mawn said the family moved to the neighborhood a year ago, and cherish their son Richie. "They love that baby to death," she told the Globe.
Donohue was a 2002 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a "brother rat" of Roanoke real estate agent Jake Copty, who remembered the police officer's bawdy sense of humor. He said Donohue had also served in the Navy.
He said the men were not particularly close but shared a sense of humor and a bond with the school.
"We had a lot of fun," he said. "The only rule we didn't break was the honor code."
"We VMI men and women, more than most, understand the nature of sacrifice and what it means to be in harm's way," he wrote. " On mornings like this morning when we wake up to find that one of our own has been injured or killed in the service of others, it is a terrible but all too familiar feeling."
Copty said his phone rang often and Facebook filled up with messages today inquiring about his former classmate, and he feared he was dead.
"We are especially thankful to our friend and incredibly proud of him," he said. "Most of all we are worried about him and are all praying and hoping for a speedy recovery."
Copty quoted Virginia Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson who said after he was accidently shot and lost an arm at the Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863: "The Institute [VMI] will be heard from today."
"In this spirit, 'Dic' serves his community and risks his life to help people," said Copty. "He stands among an elite cadre, thousands strong, sacrificing and risking to make their communities a better place. All of his VMI family's thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as we wait for word on his condition."