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One Braintree officer shot in woods released from hospital; the other remains hospitalized in stable condition

A huge stuffed dog and flowers were part of a memorial at the Braintree Police Dept. after their police dog Kitt was killed at the Braintree Village apartment complex.
A huge stuffed dog and flowers were part of a memorial at the Braintree Police Dept. after their police dog Kitt was killed at the Braintree Village apartment complex.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

One of two police officers injured in a shootout in Braintree on Friday was released from the hospital Saturday while the other officer remains hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.

The two officers were shot while responding to a domestic disturbance Friday afternoon. They were met with gunfire while searching the woods behind an apartment building where they were told a suspect had fled.

Officer Matthew Donoghue, 34, wore a sling Saturday afternoon as he walked out of Boston Medical Center, where a group of his fellow officers met him with applause outside the Menino Pavilion and escorted him home.

Officer Bill Cushing, a 15-year veteran of the department, continued to undergo treatment at a South Shore hospital Saturday, Braintree Police Chief Mark Dubois said at Boston Medical Center.

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Dubois said he did not know when Cushing would be discharged, but said he is “expected to make a full recovery.”

Both officers, who were wearing bulletproof vests, suffered multiple gunshots to their limbs, Dubois said.

Dubois said Donoghue was “in very good spirits” Saturday afternoon as he was preparing to leave the hospital.

“He’s very thankful there’s an excellent outcome and is expecting a full recovery,” Dubois said. “[His family is] is extremely happy that he’s getting discharged today, and the support here at the hospital has been incredible.”

Cushing was the handler for police K9 Kitt, a 12-year veteran who died after being shot during the incident.

“The priority for us is [the two officers’] recovery and the support that we can provide them and their families,” Dubois told reporters outside the hospital Saturday afternoon. “It’s a very traumatic incident, and it’s multiplied extremely because of the loss of Kitt.”

Braintree Deputy Chief Tim Cohoon, who stood next to Dubois, said Kitt and Cushing had been partnered for 12 years.

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“The relationship between the handler and the K9 is significant,” he said. “Anybody who has a pet can appreciate their relationship. … They work constantly together, and the dog’s main focus in life is the protection of the handler.”

“It’s going to be a long road ahead for Billy, he’s going to have a lot of support,” Cohoon added. “It’s a tough circumstance, but it definitely could have been a lot worse, so we’re fortunate in the outcome and really saddened by the loss.”

Kitt led the search Friday as three officers followed the suspect, identified as 34-year-old Andrew Homen, into a wooded area after he fled from an apartment in the Braintree Village complex near the Weymouth town line.

An exchange of gunfire erupted in the woods.

Cushing was taken to a South Shore hospital and Donoghue to Boston Medical Center. Homen, who police said was armed with two handguns, was taken to Milton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Homen’s girlfriend said she was injured in a domestic incident Friday and called 911 for help, according to a statement she provided to WCVB-TV. She thanked the responding officers and offered condolences to the families of the officers who were hurt.

“What started as a very private situation turned into a tragedy,” she said. “The actions of Andrew were not like anything I had ever witnessed from him in the time that I knew him and beyond that do not wish to comment or make any assumptions as to what was going through his mind at that moment. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured officers.”

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Governor Charlie Baker said Saturday he spoke with Dubois on Friday night to offer support. He described the scene in Braintree as a “gun battle” and said based on what he was told, the officers were “lucky they were only injured because they both were hit multiple times.”

“We should all take a minute and step back and recognize that these are very dangerous jobs and potentially deadly jobs,” he said.

Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros was also at Boston Medical Center on Saturday to witness Donoghue’s release.

“We are here to support our police officers … that sacrifice their lives to protect us,” he said. “When you look at the amount of support coming from residents, we are 100 percent behind our police. I hope everybody takes a moment to say a prayer for the two officers as they heal.”

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said Friday that Homen was “well known to police” and there were warrants out for his arrest at the time of the shooting but he gave no further details.

Authorities said officers were responding to a call reporting a domestic disturbance on McCusker Drive at 12:45 p.m. Friday. The alleged victim told police that Homen had fled into a wooded area behind their building. Morrissey said the three officers entered the woods with the dog leading the search. They made it about 75 yards before coming under fire.

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“They came under fire from an individual in a defensive position, some would say lying in wait in an ambush for the officers to come into the wooded area,” Morrissey said. “The police dog … was struck in one of the initial rounds of fire, and the officers also were struck as they returned fire in the direction of the suspect.”

Cushing, Donoghue, and Kitt were carried about 100 yards out of the woods by fellow officers, Dubois said.

The officers underwent surgery Friday afternoon.

Kitt was brought out of the woods with an American flag draped over his body. Officers stood in salute as the dog was placed inside a waiting vehicle.

Matt Stout of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.