ATLANTA — Michael Horne left Atlanta Medical Center on Tuesday five weeks after he was shot in the chest.
"Very emotional for sure," said Horne's daughter Alison Page. "It was a rollercoaster ride the whole time. We weren't sure we would see this day."
Page's dad was pushed out of his room at AMC on a hospital bed. He hasn't started walking again following multiple surgeries - though she said he is eager to get up and start moving soon.
Horne was strong enough Tuesday to give his medical team a thumbs up, shook their hands, and exchanged hugs as he left.
Following a shooting spree in August that spanned multiple scenes in Atlanta's Midtown community, Horne is the only survivor. Raissa Kengne was arrested after allegedly shooting Horne and killing two other men.
He is now headed to a rehabilitation center so he can continue his recovery before heading home.
Page was with her dad Tuesday as he left the hospital. She last talked with 11Alive two weeks ago when her dad was still in AMC's Intensive Care Unit and she said he wasn't awake.
She described Tuesday as a bittersweet moment because her dad is a step closer to returning home but he had to say goodbye to the medical staff she credits with saving his life and now considers family.
"He kind of teared up a little bit and was saying he was excited but sad because he is going to miss all these nurses and doctors that every morning would come in and check on him even if he wasn't their patient," Page said.
She is confident her dad will now keep pushing forward in his recovery.
"We are at the end of one road and starting a new journey," she said. "So it is going to be hard but he has fought through a lot prior to this incident, so I have no doubt that he is just going to fight hard and be back to normal soon."
Before leaving the hospital on Tuesday Page took time to leave a message for the medical staff at AMC on the whiteboard in her dad's hospital room.
"Thank you all for everything! We love you all! - Mike's family," the message read.
She posted a picture of the message on social media.
"To every nurse and doctor at Atlanta Medical Center: There are not enough words to tell you how much every single one of you mean to me and my family. You have all become the family! I hate how we met...but I am so thankful I know you. You are truly the most amazing nurses and doctors and humans! I know the future is uncertain for a lot of you. But I will still fight for every one of you!" she wrote.
She said the kindness the team showed was genuine.
"I mean you can pay people to do a job, but you can't pay people to care about you. Every single person in that hospital does. Even people that weren't our doctors or nurses," Page said. "It is going to be a real loss to Atlanta when this hospital closes."
With Wellstar ending medical services at AMC on Nov. 1, Mayor Andre Dickens, City Council President Doug Shipman, and others have expressed wishes that another medical provider might take over the facility.
On Monday, Mayor Andre Dickens issued a moratorium directing the city to reject any new applications for rezoning or permits that could alter the campus.
Shipman said the moratorium could give the city time to develop a plan for the AMC campus after Wellstar leaves.
"I think it fundamentally buys us time to come up with a long-term plan of how that campus should be used," Shipman said Monday. "It needs to be extended at council next week but I fully expect that it will be extended. It really just gives us a chance to bring stakeholders together and try to find a way forward."
After seeing her dad's experience at AMC though, Page believes if another provider takes over the facility anything short of offering Level 1 trauma care won't be enough.
"Every day there is some type of shooting, there is some type of trauma that is coming into that hospital and only a Level 1 trauma can handle those types of things," she said.
An online fundraiser that began in August to aid Horne and his family has now raised nearly $90,000. Page said the family is humbled and extremely thankful for the support they have received from many friends and even many more strangers.