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Large crowd in Scranton welcomes Detective Kyle Gilmartin home from rehab

Times Leader - 3/2/2024

Mar. 1--SCRANTON -- If you asked every person in attendance at Friday's "Welcome Home" ceremony for Detective Kyle Gilmartin if they had ever witnessed a miracle, their answer would likely be, "Not until today."

And that was the overall theme of the event held at Scranton City Police Department headquarters on South Washington Avenue -- beginning with Monsignor Thomas Muldowney, Chaplain for the Pennsylvania State Police.

"Today is the dawn of healing and renewal," Muldowney said. "It shows that in the face of evil and adversity, miracles do occur. Thank you Lord for this second chance at life for Kyle. And continue to provide safety for all officers of the Scranton Police Department."

When Gilmartin walked out of police headquarters with his wife, Lindsay at his side, he was given a standing ovation by the large crowd, mostly men and women of law enforcement and the majority his fellow Scranton PD officers.

Scranton Police Chief Tom Carroll introduced Gilmartin.

"This is amazing," Carroll said. "Kyle Gilmartin is a strong man who defied the odds. Usually, when this many police officers are gathered, it is for a officer who has been killed in the line of duty.

"Not today."

With that, Gilmartin rose from his chair and stood at the podium, again, with Lindsay at this side and his children and his parents nearby.

Here is what Gilmartin said:

"First, I would like to say that I am not a hero.

"The police officers I was with that night, the medical staff at CMC, and the nurses and therapists at Moss Rehab are the heroes of this situation.

"I was just an ordinary man who was placed in an extraordinary circumstance in which I faced evil and won due to the grace of God.

"My family and I are beyond proud of northeastern Pennsylvania and how its people responded to this senseless tragedy. We thank you for the prayers which have worked, as well as the donations which will be needed greatly in the future.

"If I can choose one thing to come from this, it would be that I would be the last victim of senseless violence. If you are a parent, you need to be talking to your children. If information arises concerning a juvenile or irresponsible person being in possession of a firearm, it must be reported.

"Together, we can all work together and end youth gang violence. Let's help steer our children to be positive role models.

"Thank you for this time in allowing me to speak. God bless you all, and my family loves you."

Another much deserved standing ovation and many in the audience wiped away tears. Gilmartin then walked to a few family and friends and hugged before he went back into headquarters.

Standing in the crowd was Scranton Det. Jason Hyler, who was with Gilmartin when he was shot.

"What can I say? It really is a miracle," Hyler said. "It is so good to see him and see how well he's doing."

Gilmartin was released Friday at at noon from the rehab facility near Philadelphia. He is recovering from being shot twice in the head in the line of duty on Jan. 11 when he and fellow officers were ambushed in a gang-related shooting. Gilmartin was critically wounded while investigating a series of early morning shootings that day.

A news release from the City of Scranton stated:

"Det. Gilmartin has made remarkable progress in the seven weeks following what law enforcement officials have called an ambush-style attack on his vehicle on Jan. 11.

"The Scranton community rallied around Det. Gilmartin as his recovery began, and efforts to support him and his family continue.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey attended the ceremony, along with State Sen. Marty Flynn, Rep. Bridget Kosierowski, Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti and several other state, county and city/municipal officials.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright announced that Det. Gilmartin will be his guest at the 2024 State of the Union Address on March 7, in Washington, D.C.

"Detective Gilmartin and the fellow officers who saved his life represent the uncommon valor demonstrated by our nation's law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities," Cartwright said.

Gilmartin said he is "greatly honored" to be able to attend the State of the Union as Cartwright's guest.

A Luzerne County native, Gilmartin graduated from Holy Redeemer High School in 2008 and the Lackawanna College Police Academy in 2010.

A nine-year veteran of the Scranton Police Department, Gilmartin also served as a police officer in Duryea, Old Forge, Ashley boroughs and Wilkes-Barre and Pittston townships.

"This is the story of the courage, strength and grit of this one man, and of the generosity and humanity of the people of our area, in recognition of and gratitude for his service and sacrifice," Cartwright added. "As Kyle was fighting for his life, so many of us were calling and visiting with him and his family; so many of us were holding and attending fundraisers for him; so many of us were praying for him, for Lindsay, and for their whole family.

"Thanks to that support, and a long roster of heroic medical and rehabilitative professionals, he survived the shooting and has been making remarkable, amazing progress. It's a story that I am proud to display before the nation by inviting Detective Gilmartin as my honored guest for this year's State of the Union address."

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.


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