The Night of The Shooting
On January 30, 2009, my life, our lives, forever changed when my oldest son was shot. This story is complex, in so many ways. I can not tell the story without the context in which it occurred. My son and I were both working full time at our church. I was also working part time as a Private Investigator. I was up late that Friday night, because the homicide case I was currently investigating was in trial, in Alameda County, and I had a several interviews which I had to conduct the next day. I can remember thinking I need to shut it down because I have a long day tomorrow. I looked at my cell, one last time, and saw 2 missed calls from my son’s best friend. Although it was not unusual for Vin’s friends to call me, it wasn’t the normal this late. It was midnight.
When I called him back, he answered saying, “Did you hear what happened to Vin?” My automatic thought was that he had gone to jail for some outstanding traffic ticket. It was not that simple. In fact, my life, more specifically, my mind, was about to change forever.
I said, “No, what happened?”
His response, words that no parent wants to hear, yet have become much too common “Vin has been shot, they are taking him to Children’s Hospital. I’m meeting them there.”
“I’m on my way.” No questions, just action. I jump up, grab my jeans out the dirty clothes hamper and a sweatshirt. Clean clothes the least of my concerns.
I was at my friend Sherry’s house. CeCe, my middle child, who was 10, was still awake, watching tv. I say to her “Vinnie has been hurt, i have to go see about him.” I purposely left out the detail of him having been shot. She asked if she could go. I told her it was late and I would call once I checked on him. I went into Sherry’s room and whispered the 2 details I had, “Vinnie has been shot. I have to go to Children’s Hospital.” I asked her not to tell the little kids that he has been shot, only that he has been hurt.
As I began the drive to Oakland from Antioch, I make a conscious decision of who I would call. I made 3 phone calls. The firs call was to his Godmother, my Ride or Die, Tootie. I can remember exactly what I said, like it was last night, “I don’t have any details. All I know is Vinnie has been shot, they are taking him to Children’s, can you and Big Poppa meet me there?”
In typical, predictable Tootie fashion, “WHAT? Wait, what happened?” Followed by a slew of questions that, even if I had answers, she gave me no time to respond. I repeat, as if an automated recording, what I had already said.
I call “Sister”, my Prayer Partner, saying virtually the same thing, “I don’t have any details. All I know is Vinnie has been shot, they are taking him to Children’s, I need you praying. I’ll call you when I know more information”.
The last call was to my oldest daughter JeNae, who was living in Long Beach where she stayed after graduating from college. Again the beginning statement was the same, “I don’t have any details. All I know is Vinnie has been shot, they are taking him to Children’s Hospital. I’m on my way. I need you to get up, get online and get a ticket because either way it goes, I need you to get here.”
I don’t remember much of the drive to the hospital. I remember getting of Hwy 4, being on Hwy 24 and getting off at the exit to Children’s Hospital. I remember praying for my son. I remember God clearly speaking to my spirit telling me Vin wasn’t going to die. I remember thinking of all the ways he was going to live…paralyzed, with a colonoscopy bag, disfigured. I remember praying for the assailant (the thought of there being more than one shooter never occurred to me) and thinking what happens in someone’s life that causes them to cause harm to others.
I get to the hospital and it is eerily empty. Why wasn’t Var there yet he lives so much closer than I do. I approach the security desk and I inquire about my son only to be told nobody by that name has been admitted.
stay tuned for more of my story
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