MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A Miami Gardens police officer, out of recovery after he was shot in an ambush-style attack, was given a warm welcome at an elementary school in Miami.
Officer David Starling was at Arcola Lake Elementary School to personally thank the students for their well wishes and cards they sent him while in the hospital last month.
Starling surprised the kids with his visit. About 50 little girls treated him to a song before each giving him a hug.
The cards were part of a lesson in “Values Matter” and the girls were part of the “Embrace Girl Power” afterschool program.
“The card was probably purple. I had wrote, ‘Dear Officer Starling, I hope you get well soon. Feel better,” said little Denejah Porter.
The girls said they wanted to help officers in the same way they help the community.
“They care about us and they want everybody safe. And they want to protect us when we’re in danger,” said student Tracy Jasmin.
Starling said the cards he received at the hospital were just what he needed to aid in his recovery.
“When I got home from the hospital, we had a big box of cards and each one of the girls put a little message on it. And that meant a lot. My wife and I sat down as soon as we got home and went through each one. It was nice,” said Ofc. Starling.
Accused shooter, David Mejia, is in jail, denied bond and charged with several crimes, including five attempted murder charges.
Police said Mejia pulled up next to Ofc. Starling while he sat in his patrol unit filling out paperwork. Mejia suddenly started shooting at Starling, who managed to radio for help and give fellow officers a description of the shooter. Officers quickly found and arrested Mejia.
Starling was rushed to the hospital needing surgery after he was shot in the buttocks. He’s still recovering at home, saying the boredom is quickly setting in.
“I’ve been a street cop for most of my career. And the walls are closing in.”
Starling is preparing to start physical therapy very soon.