Support for Norman Richards II apparently runs thick as blood.
One hundred and thirty supporters, most of them strangers, showed up at Quail Springs Mall on Saturday to donate blood. Richards, 22, remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit at OU Medical Center, the most seriously injured of those shot by a gunman in Bricktown on Monday.
But Saturday, his spirit was heavy outside Sears, on the bottom floor of the mall.
“It makes you want to go home and hug your kids,” said Julie Gimmel, blood program consultant for the Oklahoma Blood Institute.
So many people showed up to donate, Gimmel said, some of them had to be turned away.
In all, they collected 77 pints of blood, blood that will replace some Richards has received during a number of blood transfusions since the shooting.
And there to thank donors with an enormous smile was Richards' mom, Elonda Quinn-Powell, who spent the past five days sleepless and praying with the rest of the family.
“You can't expect anything else from Oklahomans, that's just the people here,” she said. “When there is a crisis, we come together.”
Quinn-Powell said her son is in bad shape but stable, having suffered a single bullet wound to the back during the attack.
Richards was among the thousands who cheered the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday during a watch party outside Chesapeake Energy Arena, his mom said.
He was walking back to his car when he was hit by a bullet three blocks from the arena, and when paramedics arrived he was holding onto life in the middle of Reno Avenue.
Quinn-Powell said Richards has had three surgeries to repair the damage. He regained consciousness Thursday, but he is under sedation again now after he tried to pull out his hospital tubes, she said.
“He's a fighter, a real fighter,” Quinn-Powell said.
She said her son is a father to Javier, 3, and is a lifelong baseball player. He attended Rose State College on a baseball scholarship, but dropped out in 2009 when his mother was diagnosed with cancer and his grandmother died within a three-week period. Since then, he's focused on family and work, Quinn-Powell said.