NSW police dog handler leaves hospital through honour guard a month after getting shot

Melissa Hills

Shot NSW police dog handler was saluted in an honour guard made up of his fellow officers as he left Nepean Hospital.

A month ago Senior Constable Luke Warburton was shot in the upper thigh during a scuffle with a man in the western Sydney hospital.

The incident took place about 10.30pm on January 12 during a struggle with an ice-affected patient in the emergency ward.

Senior Constable Warburton was given a hero's salute by colleagues today. Photo: 7 News
Colleagues joined in congratulating Senior Constable Warburton. Photo: 7 News

Police alleged Michael de Guzman, a registered nurse, pulled Senior Constable Warburton's gun from its holster and fired two shots, hitting the officer and security guard Barry Jennings.

It is likely he would have died if he was not in the emergency ward at the time of the incident, doctors said.

The emotional scene at Senior Constable Luke Warburton walked out of hospital on crutches today. Photo: 7 News
Senior Constable Warburton with his beloved dog Chuck. Photo: 7 News

The first words Senior Constable Warburton said to his wife Sandra following the shooting were, "I’m so lucky to be alive."

Sandra rushed to be by her husband's side after the incident.

She also said they went above and beyond by letting his beloved police dog, Chuck, visit him.

Senior Constable Warburton's canine partner is well known because he helped capture one of Australia's most wanted men, Malcolm Naden.

Despite requiring life-saving blood transfusions, Mrs Warburton said her husband is adamant about returning to the job.

"He can't wait to get back to work," she said.

Luke and his wife Sandra. Photo: 7 News
Senior Constable Luke Warburton was shot in the thigh at Nepean Hospital.
Chuck helped officers track down Malcolm Naden in 2012.

The worried mother and wife detailed the moment when she received the phone call all police spouses dread.

"It was terrifying, he'd only just left for work ... it was totally unexpected," she told reporters last month.

"The children and I can't wait to have him home."

Mrs Warburton said she knew her husband risked danger every time he left for work but never thought it would happen.

"The first three days were extremely difficult - not just for Luke and our family but for the staff at the hospital as well and I can not thank them enough for their expert care, attention and professionalism," she said.

News break – February 16