Roughly an hour before a Milwaukee police officer would be shot and injured Thursday evening, a sheriff's deputy shot on the job the day prior walked out of Froedtert Hospital to a crowd of supporters.
Christian Almonte, 26, thanked the deputies and others who gathered outside the hospital entrance with signs that read "Get well soon!" and "Welcome home Deputy Almonte!"
"It's amazing. It's good to see everyone, it feels good, it keeps me positive, keeps me motivated," he told reporters.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office has said a 19-year-old man shot Almonte several times in both arms and the torso during a search early Wednesday morning for two other men who fled a traffic stop near West Adler and South 68th streets.
The suspected shooter was identified Thursday as Johnathon C. Williamson of Milwaukee. After he shot at Almonte, Williamson ran from the scene and was found crouching behind a vehicle near South 60th and West Main streets, the sheriff's office said.
He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when officers approached, the sheriff's office said.
Williamson was later determined not to have been a passenger from the initial traffic stop.
Charges against the two men who fled the traffic stop, ages 21 and 22, are pending, Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas said. The Milwaukee Police Department is handling the investigation and was finishing up forensic and evidence work Thursday, Lucas said.
Despite the cold, the crowd outside the hospital Thursday evening was upbeat, cheering and clapping when Almonte walked out. He appeared to have casts on both arms. Many deputies approached to hug him.
Almonte said he is still in pain but "feeling all right."
"The fact that I'm able to walk out of here is a blessing," he said.
Almonte has been at the sheriff's office for 18 months and works on the third shift in the patrol division, Lucas previously said.
Lucas praised Almonte's bravery and said he was impressed by his positivity while in the hospital.
"This is a very proud and grateful moment in our organization's history," Lucas said. "To see a young man, in the prime of his life, who gives so much to this community, to go through the ordeal that he just went through, and to be walking out today, it makes this organization very proud."
Forty years ago, Lucas himself was shot in the face while responding to a routine call as a police officer. He was 23.
Lucas said he has talked to Almonte about the experience they now share.
"I told him, it's what we just saw here — the support, the friendship, the family and the brotherhood, that's going to get him through it," Lucas said. "He's going to be just fine."
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee deputy Christian Almonte leaves hospital after shooting