Just over two weeks removed from being seriously injured when a stolen van crashed into his cruiser, Luis Garcia appears to be on the mend.
The veteran Gulfport police officer released a message Wednesday on GPD’s Facebook page.
“Hey guys. I want to thank you guys for all the prayers and the wishes,” Garcia said, smiling in the video. “You can see I’m out of bed. Thanks to the kids at 28th Street Elementary School for sending me all these cards and whatnot.”
Garcia was hailed as a hero after Courtney Brown said his cruiser protected her boyfriend and daughter from the speeding van at the intersection of Creosote and Three Rivers roads in Gulfport.
“This was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I’m eternally grateful for what he did for my family — he’s a true hero.”
Garcia was taken to the hospital with what was reported as serious injuries. He has since been released.
“He is loved by his fellow workers, he is loved by his administration and he loved by his city,” Gulfport police chief Leonard Papania said after the incident.
Eli Daniel Bosworth, 18, was arrested on charges of felony fleeing and theft of a motor vehicle. His bond was set at $150,000 by Judge Melvin Ray. Earlier this week the teen admitted to driving the stolen van.
How to help Garcia
Gulfport Community Organizing Police Support, a nonprofit organization that was formed by friends of the Gulfport Police Department, is taking donations to send to Garcia.
If you want to give, email GCOPS at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also mail a check to GCOPS, P.O. Box 1269, Gulfport, 39502.
Or you can give at a Hancock Bank location near you in the name of GCOPS Benefit Account for Officer Luis Garcia. Donations can also be made online.
Jeff Clark and Robin Fitzgerald contributed to this report.