MIAMI(CBSMIAMI) —- A 29-year-old Doral Police sergeant who was seriously wounded in a training exercise is making remarkable progress and could be released from the hospital in the next few days, according to the President of the police union.
Steadman Stahl, the President of the Miami-Dade P.B.A., spent more than an hour with Sgt. Eric Fernandez on Thursday afternoon at Jackson Memorial Hospital and told CBS4’S Peter D’Oench, “He’s doing great. He is doing remarkably well. He is talking and looking forward to getting out of here in the next couple of days.”
“I was stunned when I saw this,” said Stahl. “Yesterday we were looking at a worst case scenario. Now he is upbeat. He has got his family up there and his friends and fellow officers are showing their support. He’s very thankful to the community and he is getting a lot of calls.”
“A lot of cops are coming by. What do you think about that?” Stahl was asked.
“It’s great,” he said. “When one falls, we all fall. He was shot up there in the chest area during a training exercise. It is refreshing to walk in and seem him alert and shake hands. He is still sore and he knows he dodged a bullet. It could have been a much worse situation that it turned out to be. It was a through and through bullet through the chest.”
“You never know what is going to happen,” he said. “Hug your loved one before you leave. You never know if it is going to be the last time you will see them.”
“He has a message,” said Stahl. “Thank you for your prayers and the support of the community coming in. The family appreciates that as well.”
Stahl said Fernandez is married, has a young child and his wife is pregnant and is expecting a baby very soon.
Paramedics rushed Fernandez from the Miami-Dade public safety training institute on Wednesday after the incident at 11:40 a.m. He was shot near a simulation setup for law enforcement to practice close encounters with criminals. He was left with some broken bones and CBS4 was told he may have a broken clavicle.
Fernandez is an 11-year veteran of the Doral Police Department and is a road patrol supervisor and field training instructor. The facility is owned by Miami-Dade police and is used by neighboring police departments often for training.
Sources tell CBS4 that Fernandez was shot by someone who he was training who was late for the exercise and did not follow proper safety procedures and clear his weapon to make sure a round was not in the chamber.
That is being investigated by Miami-Dade Police.