• Orlando officer shot in head during Pulse nightclub terror attack may avoid termination

    By: Shannon Butler , James Tutten

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando police officer who was hit in his helmet by gunfire during the Pulse nightclub terror attack may avoid termination.

    Last week, Michael Napolitano got notice that he would be fired for not returning to work since the shooting. According to Orlando city rules, he has been away from work too long.

    Now, the city has worked to get him to the pension board before he is terminated.


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    Napolitano was no doubt a hero the morning of the Pulse attack. The SWAT officer took a bullet right to his forehead from the shooter during the massacre.

    The shooter had already killed 49 people and shot dozens of others.

    Napolitano's Kevlar helmet saved his life, but that was just the beginning of what has been a long road of recovery.

    He was offered what is called an alternative duty position, where officers can usually stay for about a year. But after that, they have to return to duty or risk being fired.

    Napolitano came back for a short time but left again after a doctor said he wasn't ready.

    The issue is that it has been three years, and he still has not been medically cleared to return. Sources said he has been waiting for weeks for the final doctor's appointment to be scheduled.

    That appointment will decide if he will be cleared for duty or not fit to return. But the city of Orlando said Tuesday night that he has gotten that doctor's appointment. 

    If the doctor decides he cannot come back to duty at the Orlando Police Department, he will go to the pension board as soon as Sept. 18. If that happens, he may avoid termination.

    The city does not make the determination if he will get a full pension if he is not medically cleared; the pension board does. 

    Another officer got a termination notice, but there are four others who are also at risk because the chief is getting rid of the alternative duty positions altogether.

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