ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A police officer who was shot in the head responding to a robbery at an Atlantic City casino garage left the hospital Thursday to cheers and applause from dozens of officers and emergency workers.

Joshlee Vadell gave the well-wishers a thumbs-up from his stretcher as he was wheeled out of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center to a waiting ambulance. He was taken to a rehabilitation center.

The 29-year-old officer underwent surgery after being critically hurt in the Sept. 3 shooting.

Vadell had a gunshot wound on the right side of his brain but “has come a long way very quickly,” said Dr. Jorge Eller, a neurosurgeon at the hospital.

“He improved faster than we would expect for something like this,” Eller said, adding his doctors are optimistic for a full recovery.

Vadell, a nine-year veteran of the police force, and another officer saw the robbery being committed, authorities have said. Vadell was shot as he exited his vehicle.

The second officer returned fire and struck a robbery suspect, Jerome Damon. The 25-year-old Damon, of Camden, later was found dead a short distance away.

Two other men arrested in the shooting remain jailed on $750,000 bail each on charges including attempted murder and robbery.

VIAThe Associated Press
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