Now, 25 years later, Baltimore resident Damon Walker reunited earlier this month with the medical pupil who drove towards the chaos as a substitute of operating from it.
“I constantly think about that moment of being in the gutter and not having any hope to live, you know, knowing that death was imminent,” Walker advised CNN on Friday. “I said a simple prayer that it would be nice if somebody came to pick me up.”
Walker says he could not imagine it when a automotive pulled up and “an angel” got here to assist him. It was Dr. Michael Franks. A medical pupil on the time, Franks saved Walker’s life that evening on New Years Day 1996.
“We talked, we connected, we did a little hug and then we went and had some lunch across the street from my office and just talked a little more and processed things, just not for closure, but for seeing where he is and what happened,” Franks, 52, advised CNN.
“I assume the worst when someone has a spinal cord injury, it’s a tough life,” Franks stated. “He looked really good. He had the most positive vibe ever.”
Both males had been stoic in that second, however the emotion was there. Both had tears of their eyes, Walker says.
“It’s still kind of surreal in a sense, but I guess it offers some closure,” Walker, 44, stated. “I just wanted to express my thanks and my gratitude.”
He did not have lengthy to dwell
They revisited what occurred that evening and the second that introduced them collectively.
Walker, then 18, was leaving a membership with pals round 3 a.m. after a New Year’s social gathering. They had been attempting to hail a taxi close to Oriole Park at Camden Yards when a automotive pulled up with a number of males in it, Walker says. A battle broke out and some males assaulted Walker.
“He grabbed me and put me to the ground,” Walker stated.
Walker gave what he had, hoping the attackers would go away after the theft. Walker jumped up as they left and was met with three gunshots — one to his thumb, one other by his chest and a 3rd by his stomach.
As he fell to the bottom, Walker realized he had been paralyzed, he says. He prayed for somebody to return assist him, and that is when Franks appeared.
“He went through the flow of traffic, he went opposite of what everybody was running from,” Walker stated. “He went through that, and you don’t really see many people do that type of thing.”
Franks says he heard gunshots. Soon after, he acquired out of his automotive and noticed Walker had been shot and was barely respiratory.
As a University of Maryland medical pupil on the time, Franks knew Walker was in bother. He opened his flip telephone and regarded dialing 911, however he realized he might get Walker to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, which was close by.
“If anyone can take care of this guy, who probably has 10 to 15 minutes to live, it’s that place,” Franks stated. “So, I just made a decision to put him in the car and take him to the front door to cut out 911.”
How Walker is giving again to different victims
Franks says he would not search out the highlight. The self-professed introvert is a surgeon who’s used to medical emergencies.
“It’s hard for me to talk about,” Franks stated. “I’m a doer, I think anyone would have done that, but I know maybe in retrospect, maybe not.”
While some select to consider Franks as a hero, he thinks the actual story is about Walker and the exceptional method he is chosen to dwell his life and provides again to his group.
After getting out of the hospital, going by bodily remedy and adjusting to his life in a wheelchair, Walker says he devoted himself to studying and studying, as he was “functionally illiterate” on the time.
He labored as a peer counselor. And now he is a violence prevention specialist at an area hospital. Walker tries to assist gunshot or stabbing victims get jobs or help them nonetheless he can.
Walker recollects the extent of care he acquired when he was shot and simply how nicely folks took care of him, from serving to him medically to creating him giggle when he wanted it.
“If you help these people heal, you might be healing more than a bullet wound,” he stated. “You might be healing some aspect of not trusting the system, not trusting people that now they can offer understanding to other people that go through the same thing.”
Letting Franks understand how he is giving again to his group was a part of why he needed to reconnect with him, Walker says.
“I wanted to let him know that what he did not only helped save me but helped save my community,” Walker stated. “I know I wouldn’t have been able to give that (to my community) if it wasn’t for him helping me that day.”