PLANTATION, Fla. - Officer Nelia Real smiled as she cracked open her front door hours after having been released from the hospital.
Her black hair tied back, shoulders slightly slumped, the veteran Key Biscayne officer spoke softly and looked tired, but given what she's been through, she knows it's a blessing she can open her own door.
She'll be in recovery for weeks. She is not ready to speak on camera, but she's a strong woman, she told Local 10's Christina Vazquez, and will continue to pull through.
Wednesday will be the first time Real can sleep in her own bed, after she was shot in the neck on May 10th on her commute home along the Turnpike.
Real was driving home when she spotted a car crash. Her instinct was to stop and help, but before she could even get out of her cruiser, a bullet pierced the window and hit her in the neck.
The 16-year veteran officer was just 18 months from retirement.
Fortunately, BSO deputy Osvaldo Petitfrere was also along that stretch of Turnpike and rushed Real to Memorial Regional Hospital. Petitfrere is credited with saving her life.
The shooter, who also shot an ICE agent in the arm, was later identified as 23-year-old David Bradley.
He led law enforcement on a two-county crime spree that day which also included a carjacking and a barber shop robbery in Pembroke Pines before taking his own life on the Turnpike.
Officer Real plans to tell her harrowing story at a news conference in Key Biscayne Wednesday afternoon.
For now, she will do what she hasn't been able to do in nearly two weeks -- enjoy the peace and quiet of her own home.
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