JR: The gunshot wound itself hurt, but it felt more like somebody had just punched me in the back. What hurt the most was I couldn’t breathe. As the moments are going on, I remember just yelling because at this point a man, a random man, had picked me up, and he was running with me. He ran out to the parking lot with me. We were behind a vacant ambulance, and I remember not being able to breathe and just saying that over and over, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” It was just so painful to breathe. I thought I was just going to die there on the concrete.
KK: I can’t imagine how scary that must have been. Did you ever reconnect with the person who carried you out of there?
JR: He was amazing. I actually was able to reconnect with him randomly on Facebook. There’s a Facebook page called “Find My LV Hero,” and I was scrolling through it about two and a half weeks later. I was home from the hospital, and I didn’t know his name, didn’t know where he lived, and knew nothing about him. All I remember was, when he got me there, we were in the back of a car—a private vehicle took us—and I just remember his big beard staring down at me. I saw this profile picture on Facebook, and I said, “Oh my God, that looks like him!” I read the story he posted looking for me, and it was the same exact memory I had of that night. I contacted him, and we’ve been in contact since.
“I felt like I was just watching myself, and at that point, I really thought I was going to die. It was a terrifying experience.” —Jeannine Ruggeiro
KK: Oh, that’s wonderful, and thank goodness for him. Tell us about your experience at the hospital. Help us understand what that’s like.
JR: There were medical providers waiting outside the door with a gurney, and they helped get me out of the back of the car. I was swept away from my friends, and I was just panicked. I was asking all the providers, “Am I going to die? Am I going to die?” And they all kept saying, “No,” but I asked, “Are you just lying to me? Am I going to die?” Seeing all the other patients, it was just scary. I felt happy to be at the hospital, but at that point we still didn’t know what was going on, so I was really worried.