Norwich — Dozens of police cars and emergency vehicles with bright lights and sirens blaring proceeded down Salem Turnpike late Thursday morning as a motorcade returned Officer Jonathan Ley, who was shot in Monday night's stand-off with a suicidal man, through the city he serves and back to his home.
Ley had been recovering from his injuries at Yale-New Haven Hospital and was released Thursday morning.
Along with Norwich, the vehicles bore the names of police departments in Groton, Waterford, East Lyme, Willimantic and New Britain. As the motorcade entered the city, a message went out on the police radio: "All units: 266 coming home." Police were stationed along Interstate 395 leading into Norwich.
"WISHING NPD OFFICER LEY A SPEEDY RECOVERY," proclaimed a sign outside the East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Company.
Brian Reynolds, a firefighter and EMT with the Franklin fire department, stood by the side of the road near East Great Plain station. He said he heard about the convoy on the scanner and came to support Ley.
"I wanted to be out here and welcome him back," Reynolds said. "Fire, EMS, police, we're all the same family. We're brothers in what we do."
Ley, a 38-year-old Norwich native who was hired by the department in 1998, was shot as police approached Jason Razzino, 30, in his apartment at the Cedar Glen complex Monday. Razzino fired at officers through the door and window of the apartment, hitting Ley multiple times.
The officer, who was at first listed in critical condition, is well respected by his peers. For the past two years, he has worked as a background investigator with the department's recruitment, selections and training division, attending numerous job fairs in the department's ongoing recruitment effort.
Bar owner Geoff Chase scheduled a special "Karaoke for a Cause" for the injured officer Thursday night at Chacer's Bar and Grill. Chase said he and Ley are good friends, and Ley sometimes sings a karaoke version Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" at the Franklin Street establishment. After hearing news of Leys' injury, Chase organized the event.
Supporters were invited to drop by with notes, gift baskets, gift cards or anything they'd like Chase to deliver to Ley's home. Chase said he didn't know Ley would be released Thursday and originally had planned to have the gifts waiting for him when he got home.
Day staff writer Sasha Goldstein contributed to this report.