Paralysis – Dec 7, 1991

When I was the age of 18, I graduated high school from Upstate NY. After graduation I moved to Greensboro NC. I ended up working at a convenience store gas station owned by Shell Quality Oil. On December 7th, 1991 the manager and I were robbed and shot 2 times. I worked for Shell Quality Mart for 3 months. I actually liked working there go figure. I use to cover a lot of people, they had me working up to 80 hours a week. For almost 3 weeks I had no days off. And thee one night I finally had off. Was the night I got injured, because they called me to once again cover third shift. So I said yes, because that's the kind of guy I am. Well I don't know if u can call it a premonition or what, but that night I was surely afraid. I was watching Back draft with my roommate an... As I got my jacket from bedroom and came into living room, something happened it felt like someone had walked over my grave. An as I took 2nd step out the door... I was very afraid. I didn't want to go into work that night. I didn't have a choice it was too late to call out. After I got to work everything went back to normal. People came in got what they needed and left. It was pretty slow night actually. When I think bout it now I swore this one woman came in, I greeted her, Hi how r u can I help u?' She just looked around and left. I didn't think much of it... because I do the same sometimes. So I went on with my business. It was around 5 am. The Assistant Manager Romaine had come in. I really enjoyed working with Romaine. She was great to work with. She'd have so many stories to tell when she use to work at the World Trades Center in NYC. Every morning she tell me different story as usual. Then all of a sudden a Woman had come in. I greeted her 'Hi how r u, can I help u? Then all of sudden... she reached into her fanny pack and pulled out a 357 revolver and pointed straight at my face. She demanded! I get the money from the register. I didn't how to react at first. We just had a meeting about this one week before. They just said to give them what they want, don't try to be hero. Well I decided to cooperate. Though that moment I stepped back and looked down at Romaine. The Assistant Manager was getting the money out of the safe to take it to the back office to count. The woman that was robbing us wasn't sure what I was looking at. So she leaned over the counter and saw the safe open. She forced her way behind the counter. She told the manager to get the rest of the money out of the safe. I was to get the money out of the register. I had a hard time opening the register. You have to ring a sale for it to open or press the button underneath register. Neither was working. She lodges the gun in my back insisting I get it open. Finally I hit it and it opened. "As I was doing this a customer pulled up for gas. I dreaded the thought. Hoped they would leave, but she didn't. It was a regular that comes in every morning. The woman, who was robbing us, forced me into deli and held me at gun point. She told the manager to take care of the customer and not to say anything. Romaine kept saying over an over that we'll do everything she says as long as she doesn't hurt anyone. The robber was like... Do as you are told! And no one will get hurt. I was too scared to say anything so I just stood there shaking my head. Thinking, I can't believe this is actually happening. While in the deli, with the robber she looks at me and demands, for my wallet. Even though I had no money I wasn't about to tell her that. She looked through it, as I figured she was upset and threw my wallet back at me in disgust. Wallet fell to the floor, as I picked it up I tried to figure out what she looked like. She tried to disguise herself. She wore a hat, some dark sunglasses and long jacket kind of like a wind breaker. Then she shoved the gun inches from my face and with a pissed off look asked me 'What the Hell I was looking at?' What was I suppose to say? Anything I say could be taken the wrong way and probably get her more pissed off then she already was. So I just rolled my eyes an shook my head thinking to myself: I can't believe this is all happening, I didn't want to die' I mean heck just turned 18 yrs old, graduated high school an just got on with my life. To make it worse she looked up in the front and didn't like what she saw. She looked back at me and kept saying: She shouldn't have done that! She shouldn't have done that.' Then pointed the gun straight at my face and said I'm going to have to KILL you BOTH Now!!! Right then my whole life flashed in front of me. You hear people say that but it really does. I remember doing things with my Grandfather and he died when I was like 4 yrs old. Felt like 15 min of viewing but in all actuality was only min or 2. But, Reality came back, real quick! Why Me?: I didn't want to die!, All I kept thinking bout was my family, relatives, all my friends! Why was this happening to me? I thought bout doing something, fighting my way free, but I was so scared at the time, an I knew if I did try something, I'd fumble it up an end up Dead Anyway! And before I could get another thought in my head. She grabbed me and pointed the gun in my back as we came out to the front. Thank God, the customer had left. The robber started arguing with the assistant manager Romaine, asking 'Why did you do that? Romaine Denied everything, I wasn't sure if the robber thought she told customer to get help? Or did she push the silent alarm? She wasn't very pleased with that. So she told us to get into the back office. For a slight moment I hoped we were going to be ok. How does one prepare to die? Knowing that in few seconds you could be dead. Everything was running through my head. What is it like? Is it going to hurt? I expected to get shot in back of head. Will I see it exit or will it be so quick and painless? Is there life after death? Or is it just blackness. There was so much life I still wanted to do. And it was being taken away. It wasn't fair! I'm a good guy, why was this happening to me? Then it happened!!! Manager went into the back office first; I got bout 2 steps in. BANG!!! PAIN IN MIDDLE OF MY BACK!!! My legs gave out and I fell to the floor. I reached around for my legs. I couldn't feel my legs. They were all numb [crying my eyes out] the Pain hurt so much. All I wanted to do was pass out. But I was Awake through it all! I felt a push as I heard another shot go off. I knew I got shot again but I didn't know where! Screaming at top of my lungs the pain hurt so much. I heard 2 more shots! Manager had jumped behind the office desk. She got shot in the upper leg and lower leg. I was in so much pain. I tried to get up on all fours. All I could do was arch my back upwards. I pleaded with GOD to let me live. I knew I was paralyzed I accepted that, I just didn't want to die. So I begged GOD to let me live. Then when I couldn't take it anymore I had to let go and lay back down. I heard one more shot and felt something just missing my head. After that shot she kept shooting but realized she was out of bullets! She started cursing then left, she grabbed the rest of the money from safe and was gone! After the Woman that shot us. All you could hear was our cries, and pain. Again I tried getting up on my knees to crawl. Nothing the lower half of my body was just motionless. My breathing was shallow. It felt like elephant sitting on my chest. God it hurt!! Hurt so badly! All I wanted to do was pass out so I didn't have go through so much pain, but I didn't. Romaine dragged her self over by me, yet I couldn't see her. Just saw her legs. Between us both I've never seen so much blood. We waited for like 5 min. Romaine dragged herself out to the front and called the cops. I just laid there in a lot of pain crying my eyes out. I couldn't believe this was happening. One minute were all laughing, going on our business? Now I am laying here paralyzed and dying. I heard Romaine yell from out front telling me the cops were on the way and to hang on. Again I am begging GOD to let me live. It was so hard to breathe. Then I hear commotion out front. I figured it was the cops. As the cops, came in to the back office. My feet were still at doorway. There 1'st words out of there mouth was 'Oh Shit.' All I could say was, Gee thanks, and that's encouraging. They analyzed the situation and decided to see how bad it was. So they started cutting off all my clothes. When they rolled me over, I saw an exit wound. The exit wound was just below the naval. You could see the bullet hole and body tissue. I had 2 entries and one exit I heard them say. Meaning there was still 1 bullet still lodge in chest somewhere. Ambulance got there and loaded me up and took me to hospital. As I arrived at the hospital! I had to wait for 3 doctors. As I waited for the doctors mind you it felt like 15-20 minutes. I had brought up some flem but didn't want to swallow it in case it would irritate or bother any inside injury. I had asked the nurse there in the room if I could have something to spit it in. She grunted and groaned about it. I couldn't or shall I say I didn't want to move much on the table. But I was curious what was taking so long for her to get something for me to spit in. I felt more flem come up in my throat finally after short period of time I couldn't keep it in my mouth so I leaned to side and spitted it out onto the floor. As I looked at the ground where I spitted the flem there was so much blood I felt myself panic from it. I am spitting up blood this was not a good thing. Then all of sudden the nurse finally came over with something for me to spit in. Next thing I knew she is going off on me as if I brought Babylon on to the Emergency Room. She was like, 'What the hell did you go and spit on the damn floor I was coming over with the spit pan. Look at this mess I should make you get up and clean this floor.' The other nurse was like 'come on leave him be look what he just went through!' I was about to comment back with few chosen words but then one of the doctors had come in. As the doctor came over he consulted one of the nurses about something. Then like few minutes after he arrived another doctor showed up. They came over to talk to me. They told me that there just waiting for the other doctor to show up. The one doctor there was the Neurosurgeon; the other was Urologist at the time I wasn't sure what the other doctor I was waiting for. After like 10 more minutes passed the other doctor showed up. I was taken into surgery. The last thing I remembered in the operating room was them using a disposable razor and started shaving off what hair I did have on my chest and belly as they had me count backwards from 100. Although I have no idea what number I was on when I finally blanked out from the anesthesia. With the amount of damage they were not very hopeful. Afterward they told me, I had lost a lot of blood and then some during surgery. The 1st bullet had ricocheted off spinal cord into large intestine up into liver then was lodged into chest. The 2nd bullet entered in right cheek of butt through pelvis & bladder & exited into the floor. They had to take 3/4 liver and about inch out of intestine! T-10 Level - Belly button down incomplete/complete. Reflex nerves are still good but no movement or sensation. The Woman that robbed us got 85 yrs. She was on parole when it happened. They had the Death Penalty but no one died. It has been 12 yrs this past December 7th 2003.