John Barnes, Santa Fe ISD officer who confronted mass shooting suspect, returns home after month in hospital

LEAGUE CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- For the first time in nearly five weeks, Santa Fe ISD police Officer John Barnes was back at home. To mark his return, League City neighbors lined the route to his home with a firetruck, draped with a large American flag. 'Welcome home' signs marked the way to his house.

Barnes was one of 13 people wounded in the May 18 mass shooting at Santa Fe High School. Ten students and staff were killed, and the death toll might have increased had Barnes not engage in a shootout with the gunman.

During the exchange, the former Houston police officer, who served on the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, was wounded in the upper chest and shoulder.

The injury was life-threatening. Barnes lost a lot of blood and had to be resuscitated on the way to the hospital. He remained in intensive care for more than a week, while doctors worked to save both his life and his arm.

Barnes was released from the hospital two weeks ago and transferred to a physical rehabilitation facility. On Wednesday, he finally made it home.

"It's been a countdown for him to come home," said neighbor Jamie Steckler. "Neighbors have been watering their plants and mowing their lawn so the rest of the family could concentrate on him."

Barnes took a while to stabilize, but since then, the recovery has progressed more quickly than doctors expected.

"He's been able to walk and move around," said longtime friend, HPD Capt. Jim Dale. "He's feeling a heck of a lot better and he's really excited to get out and see his family on Father's Day, and now that he's out sooner than expected is miraculous."

His neighbors will continue to help fill the family's needs during the ongoing recovery.

"That's what we do - focus on the positive and heroes like him who step in, and they can save the day," said Steckler.

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