LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Flashing a thumbs-up to his well-wishers, a police officer critically wounded while responding to a mass shooting at a Louisville bank in April left the hospital on Friday after enduring multiple surgeries and intensive therapy.
What You Need To Know
- Louisville Metro Police Officer Nickolas Wilt was discharged from the hospital on Friday after enduring multiple surgeries and intensive therapy
- Wilt was shot in the head during the deadly shooting on April 10 at Old National Bank in downtown Louisville
- Less than two weeks after graduating from the police academy, Wilt found himself responding to the April shooting. Authorities commended his bravery, saying he “ran towards the gunfire” to save lives
- The officer was in critical condition for nearly a month, undergoing multiple surgeries and overcoming infections. He was transferred to Frazier on May 10
Louisville Metro Police Officer Nickolas Wilt now gets to sleep in his own bed and enjoy the steak dinner he requested, his twin brother Zack Wilt told reporters.
Nickolas Wilt was shot in the head during the deadly shooting on April 10 at Old National Bank in downtown Louisville. It was only his tenth day on the job. He has a “long road” ahead of him in his recovery, but he’s shown steadfast resilience and determination every step of the way, his brother said. The officer’s favorite catch-phrase during his rehabilitation: “Let’s boogie-woogie.”
Doctors say he suffered traumatic brain injuries and has had to relearn how to speak.
“We are profoundly grateful to UofL Health’s amazing medical staff for their unparalleled care of Officer Wilt. His family, friends, and LMPD family are grateful to you all for your unwavering love, support, and compassion,” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “Please don’t forget the innocent victims of that day, and please join us in welcoming home our hero, Officer Nickolas Wilt.”
Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, the newly named chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said, “He shook my hand, and he said, ‘Thanks, Chief.’ Never thought that I would be able to hear those words. And so that’s my focus that he’ll continue to make great strides and whatever his future holds, LMPD is going to be right here to navigate that with him.”
The officer will continue his therapy through outpatient care at the rehabilitation center.
First up, though, will be that steak dinner, Zack Wilt said.
“Nick gets to go home today, sleep in his own bed, with his own TV,” he said. “And he’s been asking for a steak dinner for a couple weeks now. And you bet we’re going to get him a steak dinner tonight.”
The rookie was part of the police team responding to a shooting at the Old National Bank on Monday, April 10. As police exchanged gunfire with the suspect, Wilt was struck in the head and went down before police killed the shooter.
Jim Ryan, CEO of Old National Bank was on hand for Wilt’s departure today and said, “Officer Wilt is a hero in every sense of the word, and I’m humbled to be among those here today to celebrate this huge step forward on his path to recovery. Let’s all do our part to honor him by loving one another more fully, caring for one another more completely and supporting one another to the very best of our ability.”
They rushed him to UofL Hospital, where he underwent brain surgery and remained in their care until he was moved to Jewish Hospital. The community has rallied to support Wilt since his hospitalization.
Zack Wilt said the family is praying for those who lost loved ones in the shooting and thanked the medical staff and the community for their support.
“He is ready to go. He wants to get back to it. He was a 26-year-old, very active, healthy young man. And he is going to get back to that … He knows he’s got a long road ahead of him,” Zack Wilt said.
Doctors say Officer Wilt will start outpatient rehab next week—five days a week. He’ll undergo physical, occupational, speech and cognitive therapy.
The shooter and bank employee, 25-year-old Connor Sturgeon, killed five people — including a close friend of Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky. — with an AR-15 while livestreaming the attack on Instagram, authorities said. Another eight people were wounded.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.