A six-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who also served in the Army for four years, Officer Danny Golden has been described by loved ones as nothing short of a hero.
He’s still here at Christ Hospital recovering and now paralyzed from the waist down.
“It’s just something that’s unexplainable,” Casey Szaflarski, Officer Golden’s fiancée, said. “Kind of like a nightmare.”
Szaflarski said she’s still trying to wrap her head around what happened.
Golden was off-duty Saturday when he stepped in to stop a fight between a group of men at Sean’s Rhino Bar in Beverly.
RELATED: 3 charged in Beverly shooting that paralyzed off-duty CPD officer
Prosecutors said 19 shell casings were recovered from the scene and Golden was shot in the back while a second man was shot in the leg.
“He’s one of the strongest people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Szaflarski said. “He was told he could never walk again and all he keeps talking about is he’s just happy he was able to de-escalate the situation from other people getting hurt.”
Officer Golden and Szaflarski are set to get married in October 2023. Their lives now changed forever by the incident, but the two strongly believe he was meant to be there.
“I know in my heart other people would’ve been hurt if not dead and he does too,” Szaflarski. “He took that role as an officer and his duty was to protect everyone there that night.”
While many have reached out in support, the family says it still hasn’t heard from city leadership.
“I just find it a little disrespectful that I haven’t personally heard from someone or he hasn’t,” Szaflarski said.
But there’s no shortage of other kindness. The community rallied to raise more than a million dollars on a GoFundMe for Officer Golden.
Star NFL quarterback Tom Brady even chiming in with a few words of support for the officer.
“What’s up Danny…so sorry to hear about what you’re going through and just know thinking about you….appreciate all your hard work and your commitment to service,” Brady said in the video.
The support is well deserved for Officer Golden, often seen in the community playing basketball with kids or jumping rope with others. Now paralyzed from the waist down with a severed spine, the family is just thankful he is still alive.
“I just want everyone to know he’s a hero,” Szaflarski said.
Three men have been charged for the Incident. A prayer service is planned for 6:30 p.m. at St. Rita.
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