Centerpoint Medical Center said Friday afternoon that Independence police officer Tom Wagstaff, who was critically wounded after responding to a burglary and home invasion call March 29, has been released to a long-term rehabilitation facility for continued recovery.
The neurosurgeon who treated Wagstaff, who was shot in the head, said his case has been one of a kind.
“In my 30-plus years as a physician, I've yet to see such a remarkable recovery – truly a miracle in the making,” Dr. Roger Ray said in a hospital news release. “While Officer Wagstaff has a long road to recovery, we are confident that he will continue to make improvements, and we will be by his side throughout his journey.
“We thank the community, the Independence Police Department and the support from around the nation that has helped support this family and our first responders.”
On April 4, Independence Chief of Police Brad Halsey had posted a social media message saying that Wagstaff showed “optimistic signs” but also that his condition remained critical and his recovery would be long.
Four suspects have been arrested and charged in the case – two who allegedly forced their way into the house where officers responded, then fled in a stolen vehicle, breaking through a closed garage door, during which the shooting happened – and two who allegedly drove the suspects to the western Independence neighborhood.
Court documents do not mention the shooting in which Wagstaff was injured. However, Independence police said during a briefing the day of the shooting that the suspects had fired while fleeing and officers returned fire. Kansas City police have been investigating the shooting.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has acknowledged the slight possibility of friendly fire causing Wagstaff's injuries but said such a scenario would be a “freakish event” and “one-in-a-million” that couldn't be replicated. She said she holds the suspects “accountable in every possible way” for Wagstaff's injuries.
Numerous fundraisers have taken place, are ongoing or have been scheduled in to raise funds for Wagstaff’s recovery and his family.