MIAMI (CBS4) -Tough, but fair.
Those are the words used to describe Key Biscayne Police Officer Nelia Real.
Her toughness was put to the test on the Turnpike Thursday when a gunman took aim at her cruiser.
Officer Real, a 16-year veteran of the force, was on her way home on the Turnpike in Hollywood when she came across an accident.
She stopped to help, unaware 23-year-old David Bradley was armed and ready to shoot on the highway.
“Whenever she sees anything or anybody in trouble, she is the consummate community policing officer,” said Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press. “She chose to stop and render aid to what she thought was a traffic accident.”
Police say Bradley shot Real in the jaw.
Her Facebook page is now a virtual get well card with messages from family and friends.
One friend says she’s praying for Officer Real, adding “I’ll never forget how you helped me when I needed friends most.”
Her niece shared a message of love. “Aunt Nelia,” she wrote. “I love you very very very much and I hope that you are well enough to see this soon.
“She is aware of all the family around her and she is a very very strong person, strong willed person,” Chief Press said. “If anybody can fight the good fight, Nelly can!”
Many say Officer Real is able to fight thanks to Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Osvaldo Petitfrere. Police say he got Officer Real in his cruiser and rushed her to Memorial Regional Hospital.
Real’s colleagues stopped by Friday to wish her a speedy recovery.
Even those she vowed to serve and protect are thinking of Officer Nelly.
“You feel like its family, you feel like a family member has been injured,” said Key Biscayne resident Joanne Pisseane.
Chief Press says Officer Real is alert, but not yet talking.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Field Office Director Gabriel Martinez was also injured in the two-county crime spree. He was shot in the arm. ICE officials tell CBS 4 News he’s doing well and is in good spirits.
Deputy Enid Connley from BSO was injured when she crashed on the way to the scene. She’s BSO’s most junior deputy and an army vet who served in Iraq. She reportedly suffered a broken leg.