Miami Gardens Police Officer David Starling received a lot of support and prayers after he was ambushed by a gunman while sitting in his police vehicle. On Wednesday, he got the chance to thank some of his supporters in person with a special surprise visit.
Students with the Embrace Girl Power afterschool program at Arcola Lake Elementary School in Miami didn't hold back as they thanked Officer Starling for his service to the community.
"He's very kind and protects us to make sure we're feeling okay," said Trassy Jasmin, student.
The day was an opportunity for Officer Starling to show his appreciation for the girls. They wrote dozens of supportive get-well cards while he was recovering from a gunshot wound he suffered in an ambush last month.
Officer Starling surprised them to return the favor, "This is awesome, this is what makes my job and all that we do worth it."
The girls lined up for autographs and hugs, and to tell him they appreciate what police officers do for them.
Officer Starling is using a cane to get around as he heals from the injury to his upper leg. The man accused of shooting him, David Mejia, is behind bars.
Starling said he's looking forward to when he can get back on patrol, "It's going slow but getting better each day. As soon as I get my strength up, we'll let the docs decide when I get to come back."