CHICAGO — A man is speaking out from his hospital bed two days after he was shot in the South Shore neighborhood while trying to protect his young son amid gunfire.
At the intersection of 70th and Clyde, Donald Muhammad says he was trying to take his son out of the car Sunday night when gunfire erupted.
“This is an epidemic and it doesn’t just affect me, it affects children every day. It affects adults. It affects innocent people,” Muhammad told WGN News.
It’s why Muhammad says he chose to speak out after surviving the shooting.
“Physically, I’m well but emotionally and mentally, you’ll never get over that, especially when it involves children,” he said.
Muhammad was with his four-year-old son, who he was dropping off at his mom’s house. The father said he barely parked and exited the car before the gunshots erupted.
“It wasn’t semi-automatic gunfire, it was literally just automatic,” Muhammad said.
The security and public safety professional says it wasn’t only his training that kicked into gear but his instincts to protect what matters most to him. At 6-foot-8-inches, Muhammad said he tried to stay low and use his body to shield his son. He was struck in the buttocks in the process.
“The training is, ‘Where is it coming from?’ Then your secondary mind comes in; ‘You need to get to your son,'” Muhammad added.
The 45-year-old was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he spoke with WGN from his hospital bed on Tuesday. He wanted to share his gratitude for the officers who rushed to his side and helped him and his son, who wasn’t injured, as well as the city’s emergency response and medical staff at the hospital.
“If I had to use the word hero, they were the real heroes here,” Muhammad said.
Sunday’s shooting occurred just feet from an elementary school where children about Muhammad’s son’s age go to learn. As he recovers from his injuries, he told WGN News that his number one priority is making sure his little boy is emotionally and mentally OK.
“They say time heals all wounds, and even as a four-year-old, we don’t know what children really experience,” he said.
Anyone with information may leave an anonymous tip at cpdtip.com.
Police say no one is in custody in connection with the shooting. Chicago police are investigating.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Muhammad cover medical expenses, and can be visited here if you are interested in helping.