By Christina Zdanowicz and Michelle Watson, CNN
Police Officer Nickolas Wilt is off a ventilator one month after being shot in the head while responding to a mass shooting at a Louisville bank, the Louisville Metro Police Department said in a Facebook post Monday.
“We are happy to announce that Officer Wilt is officially off the ventilator and all other life-sustaining equipment,” police said. “Additionally, he has shown neurological improvement and is able to follow some commands.”
Wilt graduated from the police academy just 11 days prior to the mass shooting at Old National Bank that left five people dead and others injured, police previously said. He underwent brain surgery after being struck during the shootout at the bank that left the gunman dead.
While Wilt still has “pneumonia and other lung complications,” doctors say he could be transferred to a rehab facility within the next week, according to the post. He still has a long road to recovery, police added.
The 26-year-old rookie ran toward the gunfire without hesitation and was one of the first people on the scene of the April 10 mass shooting, police said.
Officers responded within three minutes of being dispatched and found the gunman was still firing inside the bank, authorities said. The shooter was identified by authorities as Connor Sturgeon, a 25-year-old employee.
“It makes me so proud that he exemplifies what a true hero is,” Col. Deborah Berry said of the officer. Wilt had been an emergency medical technician for several years in addition to being a firefighter, and “he never, never turned away from any type of act that a lot of folks would run from,” she told CNN’s Erica Hill in April.
Berry, who worked with Wilt at the Oldham County EMS, said she wasn’t surprised when Wilt decided to become a police officer, which was his dream, he had told her and others at the EMS.
Public service is in Wilt’s DNA, LaGrange Fire Chief Jim Sitzler said. Wilt is a volunteer firefighter with the department, he added.
“He is an asset to the department,” where he has volunteered since 2016, the fire chief said. “He is young and ambitious.”
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CNN’s Emma Tucker and Celina Tebor contributed to this report.