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Get well cards for shot officers

Boys & Girls Club of Burbank prepares more than 50 cards for police wounded in Kmart shooting.

July 10, 2010|By Chloƫ Mayer,
(Roger Wilson )

WEST BURBANK – Derek Green, the Burbank police officer who was shot in the hand while arresting a man in front of Kmart last week, was released from the hospital on Friday and is expected to make a full recovery, officials said.

The second officer shot on Friday, Alex Gutierrez, has been recuperating at home.

Green was shot in his wrist, which "chewed up a pretty good portion of his hand," LaChasse said earlier in the week. "He suffered considerable injury to the bone. What the doctors were doing was harvesting bone from his hip and they were going to replace that inside the fingers where the bone had been destroyed."

The procedure took several surgeries, but officials said Green was expected to regain full use of his hand.

Both officers will meet with a police psychologist, Deputy Police Chief Thomas Angel said on Friday as he picked up more than 50 get well cards at the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank on behalf of the two injured officers.


Angel told the children at the club he would make sure the officers received the cards next week.

"Things like this help," he said. "It puts a smile on our faces and a tear in our eyes. I can't tell you how much this means to us."

Shanna Warren, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, said she wanted the children, aged 8 to 12, to make the cards as a small gesture to let the officers know their work is appreciated.

Nine-year-old Riley Touris made a card decorated with a bow. One of her cousins is a police officer and she wanted to do something nice for the injured officers, she said.

"I wrote, 'I hope you get well soon,'" she said.

Green and Gutierrez were allegedly shot by Jamie Willard with his hands cuffed behind his back after the officers had loosened the restraints to make him more comfortable, Police Chief Scott LaChasse told the City Council on Tuesday.

"The individual kept complaining about the tightness of his cuffs and immobility with his arm, so there was a second set of cuffs placed on him — so he had a bit more latitude moving his arms behind him," LaChasse said.

Willard, who authorities say is homeless and from Oregon, had been arrested on suspicion of theft outside Kmart on San Fernando Boulevard on July 2.

Gutierrez, who joined the force 18 months ago, was shot several times in the chest, although the shells did not penetrate his bullet proof vest.

Green, who has served for five and a half years, had been dealing with evidence nearby when he was hit.

LaChasse praised both officers' bravery and added: "It was a real fight for life and a real will to live demonstrated by the officer who had his gun taken from him and what he was able to do was maintain custody of that gun for as long as possible."

Despite their injuries, the officers were able to restrain 30-year-old Willard, of Gresham, Ore.

His wife, Sharon Lim, 26, was also arrested at the scene and her 4-year-old daughter was placed with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Lim had a misdemeanor warrant for her arrest relating to theft in Orange County, authorities said.

Burbank Police released her two days later.

Willard remains in jail in lieu of $3 million bail and is due to be arraigned on July 22.

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