Sunday's deadly San Diego shooting was a terrible display of gratuitous horror and evil, with many claiming it may have been racially motivated. Still, there was room for hope as victims risked their lives to help their friends.
During a University City poolside birthday party, 28-year-old Mychael Gary was enjoying his time relaxing by the pool with his friends. When the first bullet was fired, he said he thought nothing of it.
“When the first shot let off, honestly, I thought it was a firecracker,” he said. “I thought somebody was playing with us, just to be stupid. So we ducked.”
But the bullets were very real, as the following six minutes of gunfire sent eight people to the hospital, killing at least one.
Even the birthday boy, Kion Gould, was severely injured and is now fighting for his life after having lost a kidney.
As a 48-year-old retired Navy veteran, Gould is seen by his friends as an example of bravery. On that bloody day, Gary acted just as Gould would have, doing his best in a life-threatening situation.
According to a local NBC affiliate, Gary was running away from the scene and out the gate when he heard a voice call for help.
“Mychael, Mychael, please don't leave me!” Gary's friend, Tommy, said.
He had been seriously injured, and as Gary looked back to see what had happened, he noticed Tommy had blood coming from his leg. Instead of running and hiding, Gary “ran back to him and just tried to get him out of harm's way,” he said.
Gary had gone back to the pool area to drag Tommy over his shoulder without ever checking to see if the shooter was on to them. They could have both been shot at once again, and perhaps this time it would have been deadly. Still, Gary didn't flinch — he said he knew his friend needed him.
When talking about Gould, who's now in the hospital fighting for his life, Gary said he often playfully “[calls] him my hero.” Now, Gary is Tommy's hero, and we're sure he'll never forget what his friend did for him.
Once police arrived at the scene, they shot and killed the poolside shooter, 49-year-old Peter Selis. But Gary said he wishes he could ask the shooter why he did what he did. To him, he and his friends were targeted because of the color of their skin.
“That's what I believe, but I don't think he cared who he hit within our group because there were innocent bystanders in those people that shouldn't have been there, laying there to die,” he said.
Investigators, on the other hand, said they believe the horrific incident wasn't racially motivated. Instead, Chief Shelley Zimmerman stated that Selis was a man who was facing crushing debt, who had lost the custody of his minor children to his wife, Michelle Selis, and who had been depressed after breaking up with his former girlfriend. Selis even called the woman as the shooting was happening, telling her to listen as he killed those innocent people.
"You know what, we can never speak to him. We don't get a chance to ask him. He made his problem everyone else's problem and now he doesn't have the problem anymore and that’s the part that just kills me," Gary said.
As investigators look deeper into this tragic incident, many have promptly condemned the shooting, such as San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer who called the “horrific act” a show of “senseless violence.”
We agree and hope nobody has to go through the same ever again.
Still, it's a beautiful thing to see individuals doing their best as they experience the worst of circumstances, even if at the time, they feel they aren't doing more than their obligation. You know what they say: Not all heroes wear capes.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters