‘Hero’: Hundreds show support as officer shot in face, leg is released from Boston hospital

BOSTON — Law enforcement officials from across Massachusetts gathered Thursday morning in a show of support as a police officer who was shot twice last week got released from a Boston hospital.

Springfield Police Officer Nestor Santos was discharged from Mass General Hospital one week after undergoing extensive emergency treatment for gunshot wounds to the face and leg, a Springfield Police Department spokesman Ryan Walsh said.

Walsh noted that about 200 police officers from an array of different departments were on hand to greet Santos.

Santos, a veteran of seven years, was left with a bullet fragment lodged in his head after gunfire erupted in the city on the evening of June 5.

Santos was on his way to work around 10:40 p.m. when he came across the scene of a shooting where another cruiser was shot about five times in the area of State Street and Hunter Place, according to police.

The shooters, who were armed with an AR-15 rifle and inside a Jeep Cherokee, then turned their attention to Santos and shot at his car, police said. Santos was rushed to Bay State Medical Center before being transferred to Boston for emergency surgery.

“He has had one surgery, and doctors were able to save his eye, but he will likely lose his vision in one eye,” the department wrote in a Facebook post after the shooting. “He will likely need several more surgeries before he is released.”

Officers had been searching for individuals in a Honda Civic who previously shot at detectives in the Springfield Police Firearms Investigation Unit when occupants in the Jeep drove by and opened fire, according to police.

The Civic was later found in the area of Riverview Terrace and three occupants were taken into custody on the Interstate 91 ramp. Police said that two Department of Transportation employees who were working nearby were struck by the driver of the Civic. One worker suffered serious injuries.

The Jeep was later located at a home on Randall Place, where four people were arrested, police said. Seven total illegal firearms were also seized during the arrests.

The suspects arrested on the I-91 ramp were identified as 18-year-old Robert Willis III, 18-year-old Alberto Torres, and a 17-year-old boy, all of Springfield. The four Springfield natives arrested at Randall Place were identified as 18-year-old Isak Font, 26-year-old Dwight Clarke, 31-year-old Jaime Griffin, and a 16-year-old boy.

All seven suspects are facing various firearms-related charges. Investigators noted that five of the suspects, including Font, had been previously arrested on firearms charges, while the 16-year-old was out on bail in connection with another shooting, and Clarke had an outstanding firearms warrant.

An investigation is ongoing.

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