HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Each month, around 11 people die from gun violence in Hampton Roads — which is nearly three lives lost every week.
You hear about shootings all the time, but what’s often left out of the coverage, is life for those who survive a gunshot wound. In today’s society, often those who are victims of shootings remain largely anonymous for fear of opening a wound that may never heal, for some.
Often times, they don’t want to share or relive the tragedies that changed their lives in a second. Until now.
“It’s not how it is in TV or music videos — it’s a real life situation. This happened almost a year ago, and I am still dealing with this,” says gunshot victim Cameron Bertrand.
Bertrand was shot during an armed robbery while he was leaving homecoming at Norfolk State University. He is the area director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula, where he works with youth — some who have also been shot.
“As soon as I looked at him, the gun went off and that’s when the bullet went straight through my hip,” said Bertrand. “I tried to help him. I tried to give him my card when he initially robbed us.”
The suspect has not been found in Bertrand’s case.
It’s the same story for Waukeshia Faltz, who was shot after leaving a basketball game in Norfolk in 2002.
“I don’t remember anything, but I was in a car and I got shot,” said Faltz. “When they told me I had been shot in the hospital, I didn’t believe them. No, I didn’t.”
Faltz spent six months in the hospital. She now suffers from a traumatic brain injury and nerve damage.
Joyce Marie Mizelle also suffers from a traumatic brain injury. Court records show an off-duty Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office deputy shot Joyce in October 2001. He spent 11 years in prison and three months in the hospital. When they took the bullet from her neck, it was traced back to the deputy’s gun, according to records.
“I have a loss of memories. I can remember something and then its gone,” said Mizelle.
Mizelle was shot in Portsmouth. That’s also where veteran James Davis was shot in the summer of 2016.
Davis is a 22-year Navy veteran who has served four active duty tours in Iraq, Cuba, Guantanamo, and Afghanistan. He has missed Christmas and birthdays while on deployment and serving our country.
His family and friends say Davis is a man putting himself in harm’s way for our country, only to come home, where’s he attacked and shot by two of the very citizens he protects.
“I was in the Navy for 22 years and I was doing convoy in Afghanistan two years ago and they train you to do certain types of things and pray and what not,” said Davis. “You come home on a regular little side job trying to make a little extra money and something like this happens.”
The bullet traveled down his foot and lodged itself into his heel. Davis made his way on one leg to his car in an attempt to get himself to a local fire station for help. He made it about two blocks and stumbled upon a police officer.
“He got on the radio and next thing I know I’m here,” said Davis, from his hospital room. “All for $20. That’s all I had on me.”