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Eric Ferguson Sr.

Jefferson Jackson Steele
Eric Jerome Ferguson Sr. (currently a counselor at VIP), 38

Posted 3/30/2005

I’ve been shot three times.First time was back in 1985. It was a random “drive-by.” People were outside during the summer, some guys drove by, four of us got hit. Actually I got shot twice—once in the leg, once in the stomach. The second time it was an argument over a female. A girl’s boyfriend came out with a gun. We walked away. He came back over to our neighborhood, jumped out, ran us down, and shot me. He hit me in the leg.

The last time [I was shot] was three times in the back, April 1999. I was stabbed 11 times and shot three times in the back. I was also beaten with a baseball bat . . . all in one day.

[I was in the ] 3700 block of Harlem Avenue, West Baltimore. I was with my girlfriend. Well, I was out on the street, hustling. I actually was what they call a “king of a corner.” Me and my girlfriend was sitting on the steps. These young dudes walked into the store where we was sitting, and this dude [that walked in] was lashing out, getting smart with us, like he was all high. I knew his brother so I was asking him to chill out. He was cussing, and it was a bunch of older women in the store. He threatened me: “You need your ass whupped.” Then I said, “Shorty, I’m just gonna tell your brother to get you under control.”

About a half-hour later, he came up the street with these dudes. We had some words again, and he walked away. About 10 minutes later his brother came up. I thought everything was cool ’cause I knew his brother. I was like, “Yo, I need to talk to you.” He goes, “Yeah, I need to talk to you, too. Yo, you gonna stop fuckin’ with my little brother.” I’m like, “I was just trying to pull you up an’ let you know shorty’s being disrespectful, and someone’s liable to smack the shit outta him.”

I didn’t even see him pull out the ice pick. I just turned around and started walking away. My girlfriend yelled, “Watch out!” and when I turned around he was in my back with an ice pick. He came down to Shock Trauma, too, because I took out the ice pick and put it in him a few times.

I remember I looked up and saw a baseball bat. Got it right across the face. That put me in a little confused state. I remember grabbing [the older brother], and I held onto him for dear life. That’s when I got shot in the back.

I actually got up and walked away. I walked to my car like I had intentions of retaliating. I got to my car, and the police and ambulance rolled up. The police, they made me sit down. At that time, I lost consciousness, I stopped breathing. Both of my lungs had collapsed. When I woke up, they were jamming tubes in my side and cutting me open and all that stuff. I was in more pain from the damn tubes than anything.

I flat-lined twice. They actually used them two things [defibrillator paddles] twice. I thought I was going to die.

I stayed in the hospital for two and a half months. They actually showed me how to walk again, because I was bedridden. To actually recover, I mean to just get to 50 percent, I would say was like six months. I walked with a walker for a while, you know.

I have problems breathing. From the shots in the legs, I can’t do as much as I used to. I still like to play ball. I even coach my son’s basketball team, but I’m more on the sidelines now than running up and down the court with them. My stuff is not as good as it used to be, but I account that up to age. (laughs)

I still had the money flow for a little minute, but you know . . . I had to relinquish my “throne.” I wasn’t willing to go to prison. I wasn’t willing to get shot up no more. It was just the fact of me realizing that it was time for a change in my life. I was getting too old for the gun shit, and I didn’t know how many more trips to the hospital I had left in me.

I ride past [the spot where it happened] damn near every day because it’s in my mom’s neighborhood. I don’t really give it a thought, y’know, ’bout what happened. The guy who actually shot me came home last month. Me and him have talked. I thanked him, actually. I thanked him, because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I probably would’ve wound up dead somewhere ’cause somebody else done shot me. ’Cause I woulda been doing the same shit. He told me he had gotten engaged, he was moving on, he thanked me for a change of life, for sending him to jail. How much he actually mean that shit, I don’ t know! (laughs) But that’s what he said.

It showed me that I wasn’t the badass I thought I was. I mean, I ran that pot of gold for like three years. I terrified a lot of people. But it also showed me that what comes around goes around, because I had done some shit myself. If I had to do shit and you were in my way, it was [just] business. So [getting shot] was like . . . just cause. You get what you dish out. It gave me a conscience.

I had no sense of caring about anyone, and [VIP] definitely helped me with that. The program showed me a lot as far as problem solving—conflict resolution—because I still was bitter. I had all intentions of, when I got well, I was gonna retaliate. [VIP] actually helped me sit down and realize how [the shooter] actually helped me.

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