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December 26, 2016

A Family’s Nightmare

In the early morning hours of Dec. 6th three young men and their families had their lives altered forever.
This is my story.

A Family’s Nightmare
A True Story

I arrived at my son’s house the morning he was shot to find his truck missing from its usual spot. I immediately thought it was stolen. In retrospect, I really wish it had been. I walked in the front door and was greeted by Ryan’s 3 yr. Old with a boisterous “hey catfish”. I replied with an equally boisterous “hey bluegill where’s your daddy?” He told me he was at work. It was a little after 9:00 am and Ryan’s 9 yr. old boy came out from the bedroom when he heard me greet the baby. He had missed the bus. I asked why he missed the bus and he told me his father went to work early and didn’t wake him. I took him to school and came back and put the baby to work. He had misbehaved the day before and was paying the penalty for his bad behavior by moving some wood to a pile near the door. I texted Ryan to find out where he wanted the wood after attempting to call him and being sent straight to voicemail. No answer to the text either. After spending a couple of hours having Ryan’s youngest son move the wood pile back and forth several times, and cleaning up the yard and answering his questions as to why he had to keep moving the same firewood back and forth across the yard. Still no answer to the text. We went back inside to see what GG needed done. She asked if I had heard from Ryan and told me he hadn’t come home from the Tool Shed Lounge . My heart immediately dropped to the floor and I knew this feeling was going to get worse before it got better. Something was terribly wrong. Trying to be optimistic I told GG he was either in jail, in the hospital or worse. I knew he would have called if he was in jail or able to call. I asked GG to call around to see if she could find out what happened.

I have been taking my 9 year old granddaughter lunch at school every week since she was six, needless to say she was expecting me. I was due for our weekly lunch date in a short time so I headed for Quizno’s for her latest usual, broccoli cheddar soup. I got her soup and arrived at the school a little ahead of schedule so I typed in tool shed on google and hit the news tab. The first headline I read was:

Triple shooting at I-40 bar leaves one dead and two injured.

It felt like my heart was going to explode in my chest. It definitely just got worse. I called GG on my way into the School and let her know what I had found out and asked her to call the police to find out where my son was. I continued to search google while I waited for my Granddaughter in the school office and found that one of the boys was deceased, one was in critical condition and one was stable. I thought to myself which one of these boys was my son? Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized something terrible had happened to my son. I looked up and told the school receptionist that I believed one of those boys that was shot was my son. Desperately trying to hold back tears I told her the condition of the three young men. About that time my phone rang and it was GG giving me the number of a detective who was handling the homicide investigation. I called the detective, introduced myself and listened. He started with your son is going to be okay (this is where it gets better) he has been shot twice, once in the chest and once in the neck,(not so much better. This is still hard to say without tears) nothing vital was hit.

He probably won’t even need surgery. I was elated to hear my son was alive and not injured beyond his own body’s ability to repair.

After seeing that headline this was definitely the best case scenario. The detective went on to inform me he would be heavily sedated and on life support for a couple of days. (We heard the same thing from the Dr. every couple of days for the next week.) The detective asked me for my contact information about the time my granddaughter and I made eye contact as she came out of her neighborhood. I assured him I would call with the contact information after I saw my son. I hung up the phone and noticed the school receptionist looking at me skeptically. I took a deep breath and told her I would be ok and walked out to have lunch with my granddaughter.

Fortunately one of her friends parents brought her friend lunch also. While she was distracted with her friend I texted her father to get someone to the hospital asap.

(Actual text)
, your brother was shot last nigh in a multiple shoiting . He is stable and right now they are saying he probably wont even need surgery. He was innocent bystander.

Sorry for the typos. Fat thumbs!

I answered his questions while his daughter was distracted with her friend. All while dealing with a huge knot in my stomach. Somehow I got through lunch without letting her know what had happened. There was no sense ruining her day. She loves Ryan just like everyone else does.

I returned to GG’s after lunch, picked up Ryan’s youngest and headed for the hospital. His older brother was already there.
We arrived at the ICU to find out the 3 year old has to be 12 to gain admittance. The baby was visibly upset. His hero was laying unconscious in the hospital. One of the nurses offered to watch him while I went to see Ryan but he would have none of that. I asked them to have my oldest son come out. He was a familiar face for the baby and he was willing to stay with him while I went to see his dad.

Ryan was heavily sedated but looked amazing for someone who had two fresh bullet holes in him. His color was great and he looked like he was resting peacefully. I placed my hand on his forehead and told him he was going to be ok and that I loved him. Again, trying to hold back the tears I took some deep breaths at my sons side, regained my composure and told him I would see him later. Now I was faced with the task of telling Ryan’s older boys what happened.

Ryan’s older sons were already home by the time I arrived with their baby brother and cousin. I called everyone into the living room to tell them what happened. I started by saying, what I have to tell you about your Daddy is going to be somewhat shocking, but he is going to be okay. I told them their daddy had been shot trying to stop a gunman and he was a hero. About this time the doorbell rang . The media was there looking for a scoop. What horrible timing. I had seen them next door where Ryan used to live when we arrived and had been hoping they would just go away. They had disrupted a very private moment and this angered me.
I told everyone to stop as they ran to the door and that it was the media and we had nothing to say to the lying bottomfeeders. The boys far left liberal Great grandmother almost knocked me down the stairs to answer the door. when she opened the door I told them to go away and that they were nothing but lying bottom feeders while the boys Great grandmother tried to talk to them. she told them not to pay attention to me I was a Trump supporter. Little did she know it was the local Fox news station that had knocked on her door. I repeatedly yelled just go away over the top of their conversation. Knowing he was unwanted the reporter apologized for the intrusion and left. while I was loudly voicing my displeasure with the appearance of the media Ryan’s oldest boy ran off, not wanting to be around the conflict between the media and myself. He returned in about 20 minutes and was okay. We finished the conversation. I answered their questions as best as I could and I took my granddaughter home and returned to my home exhausted with the three year old.

His brothers and mother spent the next ten days at his side while he was under sedation. GG and I looked after his children. While the older boys were in school, I kept the 3 year old entertained with trips to Kaleidoscope, Science City, and the Zoo. I have been reassuring him all week his Daddy was going to be okay. He is very intelligent , but had a hard time understanding why he couldn’t see his Daddy. He dealt with the situation by telling everyone who spoke to him; “My Daddy got shot by a bad guy, but hes okay. He’s in the hospital and the cops got the bad guy.” While this made me cringe a little at first, I realized this was probably a good way for him to deal with the frustration of not being able to see his father. After telling this to the first people at the Hallmark visitor center and receiving a teddy bear from the ladies at the desk for comfort, he continued to share his story with everyone he came in contact with. As time went by, without getting to see his father he still kept a stiff upper lip and continued to tell strangers his story. However, in private conversations he told me his daddy was dead. He just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see his Daddy. I promised him his Daddy was going to be okay and just tried to keep him busy and distracted. He is emotional like myself and his Great Grandfather who died the week before his daddy was shot and his daddy is his whole world. I had been answering his questions about death the week before and it just made sense to him that his father was dead since he couldn’t see him. I gave the older boys daily updates on their father’s condition and when they could expect to see him as well as reassuring everyone he was going to be okay.

Ryan’s condition continued to improve and 12 days after being shot twice, he was out of ICU and reunited with his children.
When the boys finally got to see their father it was emotional for all especially the little one. He climbed up on the bed and rested in his fathers arms for a bit before Ryan started feeling pains and needed some painkiller. He didn’t want the boys to see him grimacing so we went outside the door and got the nurse so he could get relief from the pain. The boys were concerned but they were quite the troopers and waited patiently until the painkiller started to take effect and they could return to their fathers bedside to tell him see you later. We returned to Ryan’s bedside, unable to speak he made gestures and mouthed that he wanted his middle son to stay with him. His brother was on his way with his oldest son, so I left the middle child with his father knowing his Uncle would arrive shortly.

!6 days after the shooting it appears Ryan may be able to manage his pain on his own and return home to his children. He had a rough night but got past it with mind over matter. He is tough as nails

It is Dec. 24th Christmas Eve Ryan is finishing his recovery at home. His boys will get to spend Christmas with their father after all. This ordeal could have turned out so different. Glad you are still with us Ryan.