'I'm a bit shaky, I'm on the mend' - Garda shot twice while on holiday in New Orleans
A Garda who miraculously cheated death after been shot twice while on holiday in America has declared: "I'm a lucky man."
Speaking for the first time since the gun attack on January 27, Brian Hanrahan said he was getting better everyday.
However, he added: "I'm still a bit shaky".
Despite his traumatic ordeal, the brave young garda managed a smile, and said: "I'm all right. I'm on the mend, that's about it."
Looking tired, but remarkably well -- given his injuries -- he added: "I am lucky."
The 30-year old, from Killenaule, Co Tipperary, was shot in the back and leg during a botched robbery as he walked along a street in New Orleans at around 5.30am on January 27.
According to official police records, Mr Hanrahan said he met a man who told him he could organise a late night drink. It's understood a second man later approached them and shot the off-duty garda after he refused to hand over his wallet containing around €200.
Mr Hanrahan, who flew home at the weekend, has received hundreds of well wishes from his colleagues in the force, neighbours, and friends.
He released a statement through An Garda Siochana which read:
"I am now home and beginning to recuperate with the help of my family and friends.
" I would like to thank all of the staff at LSU Hospital in New Orleans, they are an amazing team and I would not be here today without them. I would like to express my gratitude to the New Orleans Police Department, the Emerald Society and the people of New Orleans.
"Their kindness and generosity will never be forgotten both by me and my family. I would also like to thank the Irish Community both home and abroad for the many kind messages of support.
"Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues in An Garda Síochána and the amazing community in Newcastle West for their support and well wishes.
"Obviously I have a long road ahead with pain management and rehabilitation but I am hopeful that these will be effective and I can get back to my normal life.
"Myself and my family would be most grateful if our privacy could be respected at this time so I can concentrate fully on my recovery. I will not be providing any further media interviews."
The New Orleans Police Department and An Garda Siochana have raised thousands of euro to help the father of one meet the cost of his travel, accommodation and medical bills, which are estimated at close to $1m.
The popular local uniform garda -- who had been on holiday with his father Brian Snr -- spent over a week in Intensive Care, and also underwent surgery. It's understood he had travel insurance but that this was not sufficient to meet the costs of his spiralling medical bills. After a week in hospital he moved into a hotel to cut down on costs.
Mr Hanrahan, who spoke at his home briefly added. "I'm not up to talking (much). I'm not up to anything yet. I'm all right, I'm on the mend, that's about it. I'm lucky."
A garda source said: "Last week he and the family were fairly burnt out by the whole media (attention) going on. He's keeping a low profile at the moment."
Following the shooting, police offered $2,500 for information and within days arrested two brothers.
According to court documents, 40-year-old Melvin Galle Jr and his 33-year-old brother, Keith, have each been charged with attempted second-degree murder and armed robbery.
Garda Hanrahan is hoping to return to work as soon as possible but faces a tough battle through ongoing physiotherapy and medical treatment to get back on the beat.
A motorcycle run to raise funds to aid the garda's recovery is to take place on February 22. Organisers expect hundreds of motorcyclists to take part along the route from Newcastle West to the Garda Training College, Templemore, and returning to Newcastle West.
Registration for the event will take place from 9.30am on the morning of the event, at the Silver Dollar Bar, Maiden Street, Newcastle West.
Donations are also being accepted at St Paul's garda credit union in Cork at Account No: 55322.