Bricktown shooting victim returns home

A month after he was shot in the back in Oklahoma City, 22-year-old Norman Richards II thanks supporters and looks forward to a return to normalcy.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: June 22, 2012
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Over the course of four surgeries, Richards lost a kidney and portions of his liver, stomach and small intestine. He doesn't remember most of his hospital stay, but he caught a glimpse of every subsequent game the Thunder played.

To survive the ordeal Richards said he drew on skills picked up at the gym and on the baseball diamond. A center fielder and shortstop, Richards was an All-City baseball player his senior year at Del City High School and later went to Rose State College on a baseball scholarship.

“Whenever you're an athlete, you try to hit the wall and keep going,” he said. “Almost every day they pushed me hard, but they had me walking every day, and it just got easier.”

The support also helped, he said. Six dozen or so of his friends lined the hallway outside the emergency room at OU Medical Center several hours after the shooting, and even strangers offered a helping hand. Many more donated blood on his behalf during a drive in early June.

And twice representatives from the Thunder made hospital room visits. General Manager Sam Presti brought him a pair of Kevin Durant sneakers the first time; reserve guard Reggie Jackson came by just to chat a few weeks later.

“He's a military brat, too, and so we just talked about that,” Richards said of Jackson's visit. “It was nice that they cared enough to come. It's crazy — they're in the middle of the playoffs, and they took the time to come see me, hang out with me for a little while.”

His son's eyes widened and his mouth dropped open when Jackson entered the room, Norman Richards Sr. said. It was a small gesture, but it meant everything to the family.

“To me that just symbolizes everything Oklahoma City and Oklahoma is about,” the elder Richards said. “It doesn't matter what the problem is, in times of need people rally together.”

Father and son both said they are not angry at the alleged gunman, though they have a hard time understanding why he made the decision to start shooting people at random.

The elder Richards said the family prays for Myers and his family, but that if he indeed is responsible for the attack, he should be held responsible.

“I think certifying him as a juvenile would send the wrong message to a lot of kids out there,” Richards Sr. said. “He should do time; he injured eight people. But do I feel like he should be locked up for life? No.”

The younger Richards, for his part, said he would like to keep the message positive. Most of all, he'd like life to return to normal.

“Don't take it for granted,” he said. “You can be gone at the drop of a hat. I'm doing a lot of stuff differently — I won't go out as much to party and stuff, but I will go back to Thunder Alley.”


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