HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)- Hartford’s Aswad Thomas knows the impact of gun violence.
“My father was shot during the 80’s. My brother was shot in the early 2000’s and my cousin was shot in the early 2000’s. He is now paralyzed from the waist down,” said Thomas.
In August of 2009 bullets struck him in what he believes was an attempted robbery. It was right before he was supposed to leave to play basketball professionally. The wounds ended his career.
Thomas said, “I was shot in my left shoulder here. The bullet pierced across my back and lodged in my upper back area and I suffered another wound directly in my back just an inch away from my spinal cord and my aorta,” said Thomas.
It’s part of the reason he’s wearing an orange ribbon today. He joined other hospital employees who donned the color in pants, socks, and ties to mark the First National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
“Wearing orange matters to me and wearing orange matters to you,” said St. Francis Chief of Surgical Critical Care Dr. David Shapiro. ” We’re not trying to take anyone’s guns away from them. We’re not anti-gun. We’re pro-gun safety and anti-gun violence.”
Doctor David Shapiro sees first-hand the toll gunfire can have as a trauma surgeon. Saint Francis hospital doctors say they’re ramping efforts to collaborate with police and social workers to help victims long after shots are fired.
Thomas just received his sociology degree and hopes to help victims of crime. He wants to be a part of this mission in his own hometown.
“The incident help changed my life negative that it happened, but it also opened many doors for me personally and professionally,” said Thomas.