We heard about the shooting from DeKalb County Police in October, and now we are hearing the details directly from Shadarius Fitzpatrick, the Walmart employee who was almost killed because of a strange misunderstanding he had with a customer outside the store on North Decatur Road.
He described to CBS46 how he was headed to the outer limits of the parking lot to collect stray shopping carts, when a very paranoid customer thought Fitzpatrick was following him. He says the customer appeared to feel threatened, even though Fitzpatrick was wearing a uniform.
"My yellow vest, my protective vest, my Walmart vest. He looked back and he's like, what you got on you? what you got on you? I'm like, man, what are you talking about, I don't got nothing on me."
Fitzpatrick originally thought the customer was talking to someone else, because he couldn't understand what his problem was.
"I'm thinking he's like a homeless crazy man or something. I'm like, 'Get on somewhere.' The next thing you know, I'm shot. Right there in my wrist- it came out right there. This was messed up."
He was lucky to only take one bullet because, in the police report officers say the customer shot at him almost ten times.
Even though he was only hit in the wrist, Fitzpatrick says it turned out to be a major artery, and he needed two blood transfusions to stay alive.
He thanks the bystanders who put him in their personal car and drove him to the hospital.
Erick Smith, age 39, was arrested that same night and charged with aggravated assault. He's been in jail ever since, awaiting a court date.
We requested a mugshot of Smith in October, and again for this week's updated story, but the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has yet to provide one for us.
Fitzpatrick may have survived, but he is still traumatized, and he gets very emotional thinking about what happened.
"You got to stay calm with them guns man. You got to stay real calm. Everybody is hurt after that. It may not seem like it, because life goes on, for real, but it's a story to tell."
Fitzpatrick's mother was the victim of gun violence when he was 2-years-old. During the interview, Fitzpatrick's grandmother was present, and she explained how her daughter was killed in 1989 by a jealous man.
The injury Fitzpatrick received in October's shooting put him out of work for months. Fitzpatrick says he's been on unpaid medical leave the entire time with no insurance payouts.
Walmart responded to our questions with only this statement, Tuesday:
“We reviewed the situation and there are questions related to Mr. Fitzpatrick’s behavior and actions in this instance which we believe impacts his entitlement to Workers’ Compensation. A judge will be hearing the issue soon so we aren’t going to comment further on the matter at this time.”
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