HARVEY, Ill. -- A south suburban police officer, shot during a hostage standoff and off work for six months, was welcomed back today with a hero's salute.
Lt. Darnell Keel, a decorated Harvey police officer, is back on the job -- even though he was eligible to retire.
A surprised Keel received a hero's welcome on his first day back after last summer's dangerous encounter with armed gunmen barricaded for 21 hours in a Harvey home.
Keel was seriously wounded in the tense August standoff with ex-cons David Jordan and Peter Williams, who took six children and two adults hostage after a home invasion burglary.
SWAT teams swarmed around the single-family home with Lt. Keel leading the charge to safely free the hostages. He pushed a fellow officer out of harm's way as the gunmen opened fire. Keel suffered a serious gunshot wound to the arm that required emergency surgery.
"It speaks to his character, it speaks to his integrity, and it speaks to his courage," said Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg.
A plaque hangs on the wall of Harvey police headquarters honoring not just Lt. Keel, but all of the police officers involved in last summer's harrowing barricade situation, which ended without any loss of life.