PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix police officer still hospitalized since being critically wounded in an on-duty shooting nearly a month ago is stable, on a ventilator and recognizes those around him, his family said in a statement released Tuesday by the police department.
Police had said previously that Officer Tyler Moldovan’s multiple gunshots included one to the head, and the statement by his wife, Chelsea, on behalf of his family said her 22-year-old husband “endured extensive neurologic injuries.”
Police said the day of the Dec. 14 shooting that Moldovan’s condition was extremely critical and that he was not expected to survive, but the new statement said there has been improvement.
“The doctors consider his current condition to be stable, and he remains on a ventilator. We have been praying for a miracle and see glimpses of one every day,” the statement said.
“We know that Tyler recognizes those around him and responds with facial expressions like smiling. When no one thought he would, he opened his eyes. We hold onto our faith that Tyler will continue to make progress,” the statement added. “He has been a miracle already and the progress he has made in three weeks alone is marvelous; the impossible is being made possible.”
The family’s statement also expressed thanks for support from “our Phoenix police family,” health care providers and the community. “Most importantly, the prayers have been felt and are witnessed daily.”
A police department spokesperson, Sgt. Ann Justus, said in an email that Moldovan “suffered severe and life-altering injuries” and “will remain in the hospital for an undetermined amount of time.”
Moldovan, who graduated from the police academy last March, was shot as police searched an apartment complex for a man who ran from a car that had been sought after it was driven erratically early Dec. 14.
According to police, Moldovan was shot after he found Essa Williams, a 24-year-old ex-convict, hiding in a covered patio.
Williams has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder, attempted aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and three counts of being a prohibited possessor of a firearm.
According to Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry records, Williams was released from prison in 2020 after serving three years on sentences for armed robbery and other crimes.