'Hero' Louisville officer shot in head at mass shooting discharged over 3 months later
Nickolas Wilt was critically hurt just days after graduating from the academy.
A Louisville police officer critically wounded in a mass shooting at a bank in April is finally heading home on Friday.
Officer Nickolas Wilt, a 26-year-old rookie who was shot in the head, was discharged Friday after more than three months in the hospital and rehab.
Doctors at a news conference Friday called Wilt's recovery from his brain injury "remarkable," noting he's regained the ability to speak, swallow, stand and walk. His "long-term prognosis is very good," doctors said.
"It's a long road, it's a marathon," the officer's brother, Zack Wilt, told reporters.
"But every single day ... he's in his chair ready to go, and out the door he goes with his therapist," he said. "He's putting in the work."
Nickolas Wilt graduated from the police academy on March 31 and was shot just days later, on April 10, while responding to an active shooter at Old National Bank.
Officer Wilt "never hesitates," Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey said at an April press briefing as body camera footage was released. "This young man went back in to the line of fire."
The suspected gunman, a 25-year-old man who worked at the bank, was killed by officers after fatally shooting five people.
Old National Bank CEO Jim Ryan, overcome with emotion, told reporters Friday that the bank's employees "will never forget the sacrifices made on our behalf" by Wilt and the others who "rapidly and fearlessly" responded to the shooting.
"Officer Wilt is a hero in every sense of the word," he said.
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg called the officer's release a reflection of the great care he received and his "own grit and determination and fight."
To officer Wilt, he said, "The whole city is behind you."
Zack Wilt told reporters his brother is excited to have a steak dinner and sleep in his own bed on Friday.
The Louisville community gathered outside a church Friday afternoon to cheer on officer Wilt as he and his family drove by on their way home.
"This is the day we have all been praying for," the police department said.
Wilt's five-day-per-week outpatient rehab will begin next week, doctors said.