By Katie Hansen
The Daily News
MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. — A Morehead City Police Officer's family said he was alert and off his respirator Friday afternoon after suffering gunshot wounds from a training accident this week.
Officer Garret Hardin, 22, Hardin has been hospitalized since Wednesday due to wounds he suffered from a gunshot that Morehead City Police Chief Wrenn Johnson said was from an accident during training with Morehead City Police Department members.
Hardin was put in a medically-induced coma by doctors, and Friday afternoon his aunt Lee Anne Flanagan said he was alert, able to recognize people, and talking to his family.
"We are elated," she said. "Hopefully he will get to be a police officer again. We'll take it one step at a time."
Though alert, Hardin remained in critical condition at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed late Friday afternoon.
Johnson held a press conference where she stated the police would not be releasing names of those involved in the accident.
"We will not release the names of the officers involved in that shooting," Johnson said during the Friday morning press conference at the police department.
"It's clear that a mistake was made. We will take responsibility for that," Johnson said, adding that she was the person "ultimately responsible."
Johnson described Hardin, who is from Havelock, as a well-trained and disciplined officer.
Family members said Thursday doctors put Harden in a medically induced coma after performing surgery to repair damages to a lung from the shooting.
Johnson said Friday the State Bureau of Investigation is continuing to investigate the accident and the MCPD is also conducting an internal investigation.
Johnson believes at least one of the investigations will conclude in seven to 10 days.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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