Man survives shooting and now speaks out against gun violence

Richard Tucker was shot at point blank range and survived. Now, he says something has to be done about gun violence.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There are some things that most of us would like to last a lifetime, good health and a  sound mind.   Imagine a day of your life erased from your memory in a matter of seconds.
 
"I have read the stories, people told me what happened," Richard Tucker said.
 
Tucker knows firsthand what happens when gun violence steals your ability to remember even something as simple as your birthday.
 
"I think I am 54, I'm not sure," he said.
 
 
On an average day, 93 Americans are killed by guns. 
 
On average there are nearly 12,000 gun homicides a year in the United States.
 
Black men are 14 times more likely than white men to be shot and killed with guns.
    
"I don't remember what happened, I know the results of what happened," Tucker said.
 
On Jan. 4, Richard Tucker became one of those statistics.
 
The former high school science teacher, radio disc jockey and business owner has no knowledge of what happened.
 
"I was at work and I remember waking up in the hospital with a doctor asking me do I know what happened and me saying 'not really,'" he said. 
 
He was working behind the counter at Bill's Food Store on Confederate Point Road. A man came in to rob the store.
 
"I am not trying to be a hero for someone else's money," he said., "if you want the money here it is."
 
Police report show Tucker gave the robber the money, but he wanted more. The robber apparently wanted Tucker's life and shot him twice under the chin.
 
"They entered here and exited here, the back of my head," he said. There are still fragments that remain."
 
A millimeter in either direction and Tucker would be dead.
 
"When I saw the X-ray they go in and one exited the top of my head and the other I am not sure where the exit wound was," he said.
 
Ten months later, Tucker is still going to therapy twice a week to restore his reading and writing skills.
 
"The ability to write has been slow," Tucker said. "My speech is improving."
 
He has a faint British accent, a sign of where he grew up, but his voice is loud and clear when it comes to gun violence. 
 
"People are reluctant to discuss it head on," he said. "We talk about the opioid crisis, we need to talk about gun violence."
 
He is so keen on the issue that he continues to speak out about the issue.
 
"During the time we've been talking seven or eight people have been shot and killed," he said.
 
Now he understands even more that anyone can become a shooting victim.
 
"It is not something you expect to have happen," he said.
 
His position is there is simply too much. Tucker said he is not a person of faith; he said he is extremely fortunate.
 
"I can't explain why I am still here," Tucker said.
 
But as he continues to rebuild his life, he is finding purpose.  
 
"It is not clear whether or not all those memories will return," said Tucker. 
 
Tucker is also finding that his survival has become an inspiration to others.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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