(KFYI News) — A Maricopa County Sheriff's volunteer posse member who was shot and critically injured on New Year's Eve while coming to the aid of a Phoenix police officer was finally released from the hospital on Wednesday.
63-year-old Philip Grigg was off duty and passing through the intersection of 56th St. and Thomas Rd. on Dec. 31 when his pickup truck was hit by a car carrying two suspects being pursued by Phoenix police officer Scott Sefranka after an alleged armed robbery.
Grigg got out his truck to help when he saw Sefranka struggling with one of the suspects. Grigg ended up getting shot, and spent two months in intensive care, most of it in a medically-induced coma. Since then, he's had numerous surgeries and other treatments, followed by inpatient rehab. Sefranka was also injured, but was released from the hospital after a few days.
On Wednesday, Grigg was finally discharged from the hospital. He told reporters at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn that he was "ecstatic" and feels he's at about fifty percent in his recovery, "and that's something I can deal with."
Asked what he has missed the most during his six months in the hospital, Grigg responded "my cooking".
Grigg says he remembers part of what happened. "I think I remember seeing the officer in trouble, and that's when I charged the 'mountain'... and he was a mountain." Grigg also said he remembers the burning sensation when he was shot, but after that his mind is blank until he woke up in acute care, which is where he went after his two months in ICU, and figured he'd been in some type of accident.
Dr. Frank Mitchell, trauma medical director of the hospital, says Grigg's injuries were critical after the bullet tore through many of his major organs. "He certainly had an extremely high chance of not surviving that evening," Mitchell said, noting that part of the reason Grigg was treated so quickly was that the hospital had three trauma surgeons on duty at the time, and they all worked on him.
Sheriff Arpaio says the last six months have been "a tough journey and an emotional ride, not just for the family but for my office." He noted that it's the first time a sheriff's posse member has been shot.
Arpaio says once Grigg is ready to return to duty, he'll be assigned to work with abused animals in the sheriff's MASH unit. Grigg responded, "Sheriff Arpaio has told me I need to get strong quick because he has a lot of work for me, so I'm gonna be busy doin' that."
PHOTOS: Philip Grigg is greeted by Sheriff Arpaio, then talks to reporters surrounded by his family.