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Adrian Barnes Sr.

Jefferson Jackson Steele
Adrian Barnes Sr. (currently a counselor at VIP), 29

Posted 3/30/2005

I was [at] Hollins and Pulaski in Southwest Baltimore on Oct. 11, 1999. I was helping this lady take out her trash. My brother was on the other side of the street with a girl he was talking to. When I crossed the street, thatís when the incident occurred. I really didnít know [the reason].

[The first shot] felt like a numb sensation through my leg. Then the second shot . . . I was in the process of running and just fell straight down. I tried to get back up, but I fell down [again]. I see my leg just dangling, like a bone broke inside of it, but the skin didnít break. Shattered my shinóthe tibia and the fibula.

I was thinking this guy was going to run up on me and finish the job. Thatís why I kept trying to get back up, but I couldnít move. I had a hoodie on and I covered my face. I just thought about all the bad things I was doing in the past, and I just had a son. All that was just flashing through my thoughts.

After I woke up [at Shock Trauma], I was in pain. I didnít have no feeling in my leg no more. I was thinking that it might be amputated. I just thought about things I wanted to do if I got through this. The changes I wanted to make in my life, you know.

It took about six to eight months for it to actually heal, but I rushed the process. I wasnít safe [in my neighborhood]. This guy [who shot me], he had family, too. His cousins would ride around and intimidate me when I seen íem, and I couldnít run. So I messed up the way the bones grew back. I have a rod and pins in my leg. When it rains, or when itís really cold, my leg really aches.

I went back [to the streets] because I was trying to, like, regain my strength and not be afraid of this guy. I didnít want to be looked at as no punk. I went back out there with the crutches trying to sell drugs. It took a long time [to get out of the criminal life]. I had to come to grips with myself and see that I need to become a leader, not a follower. I had a son, and heís my main priority, I wanted to be here for him. There were changes that I needed to make in my life.

Mentally, [the shooting] gave me second chance to do the right things. It was a wake-up call. [The injuries] were just a constant reminder that you need someone else to help. You canít think you donít need nobody. Thereís people that do care about you.

I tried to school my runniní buddies. I tried to tell íem itís not worth it: ďThis could happen to you, but you might not live to tell how it feels or none of that.Ē They werenít listening to me, so I had to separate myself from them. I moved. If I seen íem in the street, it was just a ďhi, byeĒ kinda thing.

Thereís consequences to everything . . . positive and negative. So if I do a negative thing, then negative things are going to happen to me. I was just fortunate enough to make it happen on the positive side. Now I want to give it back.

Iím glad that Iím a positive person now. I donít just react. . . . I think before I react. I take my frustrations out on the pool table now. Anybody wants me on the pool table . . . Iím ready! (laughs)

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