MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The veteran police officer who was shot Friday was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital Tuesday afternoon. He said he was grateful. And almost broke into tears, as he talked to reporters.
Elton Bandoo -- better known as gangsta rapper "EB Da Iceman" -- shot at veteran police officer Lino Diaz with an .38 caliber firearm early Friday morning. A bullet went through the tissue right above his knee. And another hit his arm.
Diaz said he was especially thankful to his Special Weapons And Tactics team colleagues from North Miami Beach and Aventura, who carried him and took care of him, after he got shot, and was on the ground.
"Those guys and gals saved my life," he said before putting his head down in an attempt to hold back tears.
When bullets coming from inside Bandoo's house struck Diaz, the rapper shot to kill, police said. A bulletproof vest helped save Diaz's life, North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis said. Diaz felt lucky.
"I want to thank everybody for all their prayers and their good wishes," Diaz, 47, said while standing in front of the hospital with his parents, sister and nephew. He also thanked the doctors at JMH. "They fixed me up real good," he said.
North Miami Beach Maj. Kathy Katerman said Friday the wound to the left arm was more damaging than the one to his left leg. Family traveled to Miami to be by his side.
And before Diaz underwent surgery on his arm Monday, his 7-year-old daughter brought him a teddy bear.
"Obviously she was very scared when she found out," he said.
Doctors had to place a metal plate with screws in his arm. And he will have to undergo physical therapy for months, before his arm is fully functional.
Diaz said he was determined to recover as soon as possible. He had his arm in a sling. He was holding the little white teddy bear that his daughter gave him, which also had a little sling.
"I'm still in pain," he said in response to a reporter's question.
Diaz was wearing his badge and was confident during the press conference.
"I will be out there again in the streets serving you again," Diaz said.
Diaz and the other SWAT team members from North Miami Beach and Aventura were working with federal agents on a fraud case when he was wounded, police said.
Diaz and others were at the house, 16033 NE 8th Ave., early Friday morning to serve a search warrant on an ongoing federal investigation when Bandoo shot at Diaz.
Diaz and his team knew they were approaching "a very dangerous house" and that he "had to be extra cautious," Katerman said Friday. Diaz has nearly two decades of experience in law enforcement. He joined the North Miami Beach Police Department in 1998, according to city records.
Police said they knocked on the door several times and shouted they were there to serve a search warrant. But the only response they got was bullets. The officers said they did not return fire. Instead, they negotiated with Bandoo to urge him and his mom to exit the house.
Attorney Seth Lawrence LaVey, of North Miami, said Tuesday at Miami-Dade County court that Bandoo thought Diaz was an intruder. He plans to plea not guilty to a charge of attempted first degree murder on a law enforcement officer. And he is being held at Turnerd Guilford Knight Correctional Center without bond.