To the relief of his colleagues and the community he protects, Camden County Officer Patrick O'Hanlon left Cooper University Hospital on Saturday afternoon, three days after being shot in the thigh during a struggle with a teenager who allegedly had run from him.

O'Hanlon was brought out in a wheelchair in front of about 50 officers standing at attention and, along with family members, was put into Deputy Chief Joe Wysocki's vehicle. O'Hanlon, who is 21 and single, gave a thumbs-up to the officers and seemed to be in good spirits, said Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen.

"Officer Patrick O'Hanlon is a guardian in every sense of the word," Police Chief Scott Thomson said in a statement issued later Saturday. "Officer O'Hanlon's brave actions that night will ensure that he is the last person this cowardly suspect will ever be able to hurt again."

Hanlon, who joined the police force less than a year ago, has "a long road of recovery that lies ahead, and we'll be with him every step of the way," Thomson said. The officer's father, Joe, thanked the police department and the hospital staff before leaving with his son.

A trauma surgeon had credited the quick response of officers — who applied a tourniquet to O'Hanlon's leg before rushing him to the hospital — for minimizing the damage caused by the bullet, which struck a vein in his upper right thigh but no bones or major arteries, Thomson said.

The shooting occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday when, according to police, O'Hanlon approached three people who were acting suspiciously in the area of Eighth Street and Chelton Avenue, and one of them, Delronn Mahan, 19, of Lindenwold, ran away. O'Hanlon went after him, catching him. While the two struggled, Mahan pulled out a gun and fired, police said.

Thomson said investigators concluded the gun had jammed, preventing additional shots. The weapon was recovered at the scene. O'Hanlon did not fire his gun, Thomson said.

Mahan has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, weapons charges, and resisting arrest. He has been arrested 10 times since turning 18, Thomson said.