By Trevor Kapp and Wil Cruz
BROOKLYN — An NYPD detective wounded in an intense shootout in Sheepshead Bay over the weekend was hailed as a hero for shielding his colleagues from a hail of gunfire as he was released from the hospital Monday.
Det. Kenneth Ayala, 49, who was shot in his thigh and foot in a wild gun battle Saturday in Sheepshead Bay, was released from Lutheran Hospital about 2 p.m. before dozens of cheering fellow cops.
"Good to go home," he told his supporters.
Ayala and three other cops — Det. Michael Keenan, 52, Officer Matthew Granahan, 35, and Capt. Al Pizzano, 45 — were shot at a dozen times during a point blank gun battle early Sunday morning with ex-con Nakwon Foxworth.
Foxworth allegedly opened fire on the team of Emergency Services Unit officers after holding his pregnant girlfriend baby son hostage in his home at 3301 Nostrand Ave., near Avenue T.
Despite being wounded, Ayala helped protect his colleagues using a ballistic shield, cops said. He and Keenan fired back, hitting Foxworth in the abdomen, police said.
Ayala brushed off talk of being a hero.
"We all worked together," he said from his wheelchair.
Pizzano, who was grazed in the face, and Granahan, who was shot in the calf, were treated at Lutheran Hospital and released on Sunday, police said.
Keenan, who was shot in the left knee, remained at the hospital on doctor's orders, a police spokesman said, but he was in stable condition.
Foxworth was also taken to Lutheran Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition and was awaiting arraignment, officials said.
The shooting marked the eighth police officer shot in the city in the past four months and the second time in 24 hours that cops had been fired upon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday.
In January, Officer Kevin Brennan was shot in the head during a confrontation in the Bushwick Houses but survived. Then in February, Det. Herlihy was shot in the arm in a Harlem subway station as he chased a gunman wanted for shooting a woman in the face in Queens.
And last December, Officer Peter Figoski, a father of four, was killed responding to a robbery in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn.
"All the shootings have a disgraceful fact in common: all were committed with illegal guns that came from out of state," he said. "And that is the case with nearly every shooting in our city."
Ayala, meanwhile, said he knew the first thing he was going to do when he arrived home.
"Say hello to my family," he said.