Injured officer recounts shootout with Boston suspects

(CBS News) The police officer who was gravely wounded in the shootout with the Boston bombing suspect spoke publicly for the first time. He told CBS News he got involved in the manhunt when he responded to the shooting of a fellow officer.

Officer Richard Donohue recounts the shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers from his hospital bed in Massachusetts.
Officer Richard Donohue recounts the shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers from his hospital bed in Massachusetts.
CBS News

Officer Richard Donohue was at scene of the shooting with the Tsarnaev brothers on April 19. The officer who was killed, Sean Collier, was a good friend. Within three hours, Donohue would be the next to go down.

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Speaking from his hospital bed, Donohue as he had no idea at first who he was responding to.

"It appeared to be some crazy random act of violence, but there was gunfire being exchanged and once they started throwin' the bombs or improvised explosive devices ... you don't even need to say a word, you're like, 'This is it. These are the guys.'"

At left: Audio and video of the shootout

Not long after arriving at the scene, he was shot.

"My partner tackled me to just to get me down. And it was in front of someone's driveway. And, you know, he applied pressure, trying to figure out where I was shot and that sort of thing."

Kim Donohue was at home when the doorbell rang. It was a transit police sergeant in uniform.

"I immediately open the door and said, 'You are my worst nightmare,'" Kim recalled. "It was the first thing I said to him. I said, 'I know why you're here.' I said, 'You better tell me if Dick is dead right now.' I said, 'Don't walk in this house, don't come past the door. I said, 'Tell me if Dic is dead.'"

But Richard Donohue wasn't dead. The transit police sergeant said, "He's not dead. He's in the O.R. He was shot in the groin. But he is not dead," according to Kim.

Officer Donohue and his wife, Kim.
Officer Donohue and his wife, Kim.
CBS News

A bullet severed Donohue's femoral artery and he lost so much blood, his heart stopped and he wasn't breathing.

Technically, "I did die," Donohue said.

Even after all the tragedy, Donohue's wife said there's a little bit of silver lining.

"When Dic gets out of the ICU and when he feels better, this will ultimately be the best thing that has ever happened to us. We will never not enjoy a day. We will never not enjoy a hug or a kiss. And my hope is that once he returns to normal we will only remember the good from this," she said.

Right now Donohue is still in the Intensive Care Unit, but that's because he can't be fed solid food yet. The hospital's goal is to get him back on normal foods. That will get him out of the ICU into physical therapy so he can walk again.

Donohue said he's anxious to get back into police work. The people at Mount Auburn Hospital say he's not going to be running and jumping any time soon, but Donohue said he's happy to take a desk job until he's ready for patrol.

  • John Miller

    John Miller is a senior correspondent for CBS News, with extensive experience in intelligence, law enforcement and journalism, including stints in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI.