Officer wounded in Walmart shootout released from hospital

Manuel Gonzalez says he's 'happy to be alive' after being shot multiple times

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor, Derek Shore - Reporter

MIAMI - A Miami-Dade police officer who was wounded Wednesday in a shootout with a shoplifting suspect has been released from the hospital.

Officer Manuel Gonzalez, 31, walked on his own to address reporters Saturday outside Jackson Memorial Hospital.

"I'm happy to be alive," Gonzalez said. "I have never been in this type of situation, and I'm very happy to see the community actually get together and support us this way."

He said was very lucky the bullets missed everything “important” and he is looking forward to spending Christmas with his family and his colleagues. 

Police said Gonzalez, 31, was shot multiple times after confronting a shoplifting suspect outside a Walmart at Northwest 32nd Avenue and Northwest 79th Street.

Gonzalez returned fire, killing David Facen, police said. Authorities said Gonzalez was working an off-duty detail at the Walmart.

"I credit the Miami-Dade Police Department, the training they have given me. Everything I did was all muscle memory," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez has been an officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department for more than six years.

Gonzalez praised Miami-Dade police officer Kevin Diaz who rushed Gonzalez to the hospital after he was shot.

"I did it as fast as I could but, with as much safety as possible. I did not want to hurt him, I did not want to hurt anyone else," Diaz said Saturday.

Gonzalez's wife, Sherry Gonzalez, told reporters on Saturday that her husband called her shortly after the shooting to let her know he was OK.

"He goes, 'It's your babe,' and ... I got so happy just to hear his voice," Sherry Gonzalez said.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said Wednesday that Gonzalez was "born again" after he survived being shot multiple times. Perez called Gonzalez's recovery "a miracle."

"God was with him," Perez said.

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