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Torreantoe Smalls

Jefferson Jackson Steele
Torreantoe Smalls, 18

Posted 3/30/2005

I was shot on Aug. 29, 2004. I was shot in my abdominal area. Hit a few organs, some veins, also grazed my hand. One shot ricocheted off my left hand into my stomach area. My pancreas, colon, stomach, a large vein in there, large intestines all got hit. They had to do a surgery on my large intestine because there, where [the bullet] hit, the area died. I had to have that removed. I think I was shot with a 9-millimeter or a .44 [magnum].

I was on Old Frederick and Augusta. Me and my best friend, Ryan, and his cousin, we were all at Ryan’s house. It was about time for me to go home. I didn’t drive, and he didn’t drive, so we was going to walk. My house wasn’t that far—it was only 15 minutes walking distance. They said they would walk with me halfway and at the halfway point I’d go on to my house. So we was walking about 10:30, 11 p.m., and I decided to stop in a gas station. I went in, and on my way out, we was saying our goodbyes so I can go home.

These boys who was on the corner approached us. They were asking us basic robbery questions like “What you got?” and “Anything in your pockets?” I had a necklace around my neck and I had gold fronts, so they actually thought I had money.

I thought it was gonna turn into a fistfight. Me and my two friends started getting ready to fight, but the boy flashed his gun. He was running his mouth like, “Yeah, I got this! Whatchoo gonna do?” So on impulse, we all just ran.

We all ran in different directions. The street I ran up was kinda big and it was [well] lit. I was running for a good minute and a half, and I turned around to see they were chasing me and where my friends were at. I turned around, and I don’t know where he was or how close he was, but I got shot. Caught me right in my stomach.

It was kind of strange because I knew I had got shot but the pain didn’t kick in right then. While I was on the ground there was a kind of warm feeling. That was my blood on the ground and I was laying in it.

I stayed conscious long enough to call my girlfriend at the time. I called her and told her to call the police. I told her to call anyone else from my family who’s number she had to tell them what’s going on. After that I don’t remember anything until waking up in the hospital.

I [was] happy to be awake! I really couldn’t say too much because I had tubes running out my mouth and nose, but I was just happy to be alive.

I’ve been in the hospital since August. The doctors say I’ll never be 100 percent. Me and my family think if I keep the faith I can be 100 percent again. Even if I’m not 100 percent physically, I’ll feel like it. Then I won’t have to think about it again.

It’s funny, but it took me getting hurt to really bring my family together. My family is closer now than they’ve ever been. I had Christmas and Thanksgiving here [in the nursing home], and I thought it was going to be a drag. Everybody came and showed their support, and I got through Christmas and Thanksgiving. Even though I was in the hospital, I wasn’t thinking about that. I was just thinking about all the people trying to give me help and support.

I have a stronger belief in God now. Everything happens for a reason. There wasn’t no way for me to get around this. I’m going to say it this way: My destiny, my purpose for me now, is for me to help other people my age who aren’t on the track I was on. I was getting ready to go to college. I was still in school trying to get everything together. I could probably even help a bad person who is out on the corner selling drugs or whatever. I’d say, “Imagine you, out there in the mix . . . it could be way worse for you. You might not get a chance to turn back.”

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