Updated 07/05/2012 11:00 PM
Stabbed MTA Officer Leaves Hospital, Eager To Return To The Job
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A wounded Metropolitan Transportation Authority police officer was released from the hospital and headed home Thursday, one day after he was stabbed in the eye during a confrontation in Jamaica, Queens.
Dozens of MTA and city police officers were on hand to applaud at Jamaica Hospital as Officer John Barnett was brought out in a wheelchair, with a hat pulled down over his eyes.
Asked by NY1 how he felt, Barnett responded, "Very good, thank you very much. Very much. I want to get back to running and I want to get back to the job as soon as possible."
MTA officials said it remained unclear Thursday whether efforts to repair Barnett's left eye will be successful, but they said the injury could have been worse.
Authorities say Edgar Owens, 46, walked up to Barnett at the Long Island Rail Road station in Queens and attacked him.
Despite his severe injury, Barnett ordered Owens to drop the knife, according to investigators, and then fired his gun four times, hitting Owens three times and killing him.
The knife was apparently only one inch away from penetrating Barnett's brain.
"I heard shots fired, we all ran outside and we saw John standing there, covered in blood and we saw the perpetrator on the floor. I said, 'John are you okay?' And he said, 'Yeah, yeah I'm okay.' But he didn't realize he wasn't badly hurt," said MTA Police Sergeant John Chang. "He's a tough guy, that's all I have to say."
"He never overreacted, never underreacted, kind of always right in the middle," said MTA Police Captain John Fitzpatrick. "Thank god that's where he was yesterday, right in the middle, knew what to do, did it, didn't overreact."
"The injury is very severe. In talking to the administration, it is possible that he might lose the eye," said State Senator Malcolm Smith, who represents the area. "I asked him, essentially, how did you manage to get off the shots, you know, after being stabbed in the eye? He just said a lot of it was his military training and the discipline.'"
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said Owens had a history of confronting and threatening police officers.
Barnett also served in Iraq and Afghanistan.