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Richard Hooper

Jefferson Jackson Steele
Richard ďRickyĒ Hooper, 52

Posted 3/30/2005

[I was shot] in the spring of 1995. It was about 1 in the morning, and I was leaving from a friendís house going to get the bus. The bus stop was right there at Baltimore and Martin Luther King. I was about a quarter of the distance from getting to the bus stop when I was approached by three guys. They asked me for change, but I didnít have no change. All I had was bus fare. Then we started tussling, fighting, whatever . . . and then a gunshot.

From it being so close it went straight through my neck. I didnít feel any pain. What really made me realize that I had been shot through the neck was that I was choking [on my own blood].

There was a low wall and I sat down. I was fading out . . . yíknow, blacking out. Later I found out that when the ambulance got there [the paramedics] had to revive me. My heart had stopped. They revived me then, and [again] when I first got to the emergency room, and [again] on the operating table.

There was a certain point where I didnít care [if I died]. Maybe because I wasnít living my life like I should back then, as far as drinking and doing this and that. Seems like the only time I really wanted to live [was] after my surgery when I was in the hospital and my family would come to visit me. Then I would see the concern on their faces. But, yíknow, I felt like a couple of times that [my life] didnít matter.

It was years that I was going back and forth to different hospitals. When I was first getting over it I couldnít talk at all. I couldnít talk at all for about a year, but I guess it was a sort of a blessing because my mind was so full of anger. All I could think about was revenge. If I couldíve talked, it would have just been anger. I guess God held my tongue for a reason.

They were probably some kind of drug addicts. It would have been easy to pick out the area where they probably came from. I was just thinking about getting some of my boys together and go find íem. But since I had grown out [of] that stage, I look at the good [the shooting] done, because I might have went and got the wrong guy. I mightíve gotten the wrong guy . . . been in prison for life only to find out that the guys I shot and killed was the wrong guys. Even if I got the right ones and ended up in prison, my life wouldíve been wasted. Iím glad that things turned out the way they did. Iím glad I now have a different way of dealing with a situation.

One thing about people that came up in the lifestyle here . . . if you walk away from [confrontations], youíre a punk, a chump, weak. I found out that Iím more of a man to walk away from it than to be a fool to stay there and get myself in trouble again. If Iíd have gotten my little revenge or whatever, that wouldíve been the foolís way of going about it. I didnít die, so I still got a chance to go on, and Iím glad about it.

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