After you’ve suffered multiple gunshot wounds, something as simple as “popping the question” must seem like a walk in the park.
Even if it is in front of 45,000 screaming fans.
A special moment played out on the field at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pa., Monday afternoon at the Philadelphia Phillies’ home opener.
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Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett received a hero’s welcome as he strode out onto the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game, his left arm still in a sling as he continues to recover from a shooting in January that very nearly cost him his life.
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But he wasn’t done yet. Dressed in a white Phillies jersey and blue jeans, Hartnett invited his girlfriend Lily Abdullina onto the field.
By the time he had dropped down on one knee, even the Phillie Phanatic knew something special was about to happen.
Abdullina said yes.
On Jan. 7, Hartnett was shot three times at point blank range as he was sitting alone in his cruiser in west Philadelphia.
The gunman, who police identified as 30-year-old Edward Archer, fired at least 13 shots toward Hartnett and eventually got up next to the car and reached through the driver’s-side window. Despite being seriously wounded, Hartnett got out of his car, chased the suspect and fired back, wounding his attacker.
Police say Archer had pledged allegiance to ISIS and was acting on their behalf when he carried out the ambush-style shooting.
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On Monday, still recovering from the wounds he suffered in that close-quarters gun battle, Hartnett was part of a much happier memory.
“We are glad he is continuing to heal. And applaud his commitment to live every day as fully as possible,” Philadelphia Police Department spokeswoman Tanya Little said in a statement. “Congratulations!”
“He’s been through a lot this year. He’s a true hero,” John McNesby, a spokesperson for the police union, added. “And now, not only is he a hero to the department and the community, he’s also a hero to his fiancee.”