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Tony Bryson

Jefferson Jackson Steele
William Antonio “Tony” Bryson, 35

Posted 3/30/2005

I was shot in my stomach on Aug. 26, 2004. Eight-hour surgery. I almost died. I been shot a couple of other times, but this time I thought this was a goner.

I was like coming through the block on Brice [Street in West Baltimore] about 10 o’clock. There was people playing cards, a whole bunch of peoples [on the street]—it was August and it was pretty nice outside. It was a summer night, y’know? There was a little commotion, but there wasn’t nobody really fighting that I could see. Then I just hear a gunshot.

I started feeling this funny feeling [in my gut]. It wasn’t really no hard impact because it was a distance away, y’ know what I’m saying? It didn’t burn or nothing, because I didn’t know I was hit until I put my hand down there . . . [and then] I saw a lot of blood, and I said, “Aw man, I’m shot.”

A couple of people tried to tell me to sit down, lay down, and they’ll call an ambulance. [I said], “Naw, you call an ambulance . . . tell them to meet me at Bon Secours. Because if I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die running to Bon Secours. I’m not gonna die just sitting here waiting for ’em.”

I ran about 10 blocks, shot in the stomach. [The hospital staff] said I was blessed because I lived—for me to be running made the bullet move, and that made it a little worser—but to be laying there on that ground waiting for an ambulance to come . . . I would have died. So I think I saved my own life by running to the hospital.

When I got shot in my stomach, I wasn’t trying to hurt nobody. It was kinda messed up, because I was striving and trying to do a few things as far as trying to better my life, my situation . . . and my son’s. I have one kid, and he’s 8, but I was in prison for six and a half years of his life. I was just striving to do my best, y’know, to make ends meet and help him in any way I can. I was doing some home-improvement work with this guy, and things were working out. I wasn’t out there doing anything to cause this [shooting]. I was just trying to stay out of trouble. I was just trying to be there for my son. I been gone so long . . . then I thought I was gone . . .

My whole stomach was cut up. I still wear a colostomy [bag] to this day. The colostomy bag isn’t supposed to be permanent, but I’ve been feeling some abnormal pains. The doctors don’t know what to do at this time because if they take it [the colostomy bag] off . . . then they might make things worse.

It’s just wild, man. The kids out there, man, they don’t even respect themselves, so how they gonna respect another human life? When they get a gun they’re so eager to pull the trigger. They don’t lose no sleep . . . they don’t even lose a blink.

Life is short, ordinarily, by itself, and then to lose your life that way. . . . Everybody says I was blessed, and that this was God talking. He definitely saved my life.

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