JAMAICA — The MTA police officer who was critically injured Wednesday after being stabbed in the face at a Long Island Railroad station in Queens was released from Jamaica Hospital on Thursday evening.
John Barnett, a veteran cop and a U.S. Navy reservist, underwent surgery Wednesday after Edgar Owens, an emotionally disturbed man with a history of attacking cops, stabbed him in the left eye. Barnett managed to squeeze off four shots and killed Owens.
Doctors wheeled Barnett out of the hospital about 6 p.m. to applause and cheers from dozens of police officers from the MTAPD and the NYPD. Wearing an MTAPD cap, a smiling Barnett stopped briefly between the lines of officers, raised his right arm, and gave a triumphant thumbs up.
"I want to get back to running and I want to get back to the job," Barnett told reporters just before he got into on a waiting van with family members.
Despite the terrifying experience, Barnett seemed to be returning to normalcy, relatives said Thursday.
"I'm so glad that he's back to the regular John," said Viola Dorrell, 39, Barnett's sister. "He's making jokes and having fun."
Barnett, 45, was at a taxi stand at the Sutphin Boulevard station about 9:30 a.m. when Owens, 46, confronted him and pulled out a knife, police said.
"Please drop the knife," Barnett screamed at Owens, according to police. "Drop the weapon!"
That's when Owens slashed Barnett in the face, police said. With blood pouring out of his face, Barnett shot and killed Owens, possibly preventing others from being injured.
"I'm just doing my job," Barnett told State Senator Malcolm Smith, who visited the hero cop Thursday.
Smith praised Barnett, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, for his courage.
"I told him he's a hero and the whole New York, probably the country, is thankful," Smith said. "He's very humble."
Less than 24 hours later another officer was shot in a Lower East Side housing complex while patrolling a building stairwell.
The bullet hit 30-year-old NYPD officer Brian Groves' bulletproof vest, saving his life.
Police are still searching for the shooter.
Meanwhile, Barnett's family was hoping to get the father of two young children back home soon.
"We're hoping for the best," said Danielle Dorrell, 34, another sister. "That's all we can do for right now."