Hospitality softens tragedy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2000

News Editor

July 10, 2000 10 PM

A weekend of baseball and softball seems like perfect part of the American life for a couple and their three children. But for the Gormans it ended up being a "nightmare," when Russell "Rusty" Gorman, a jeweler and business man from Smiths, Ala., was shot in the chest at the Days Inn in Troy Friday night.

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Rusty, his wife, Gail, their three children, and Wanda Gibbs, Rusty’s mother-in-law, were ending a day of baseball and softball when the shooting occurred. Gail Gorman said her husband and some of his friends were unloading the car when Gibbs screamed, "Oh my God, he’s got my purse."

Gail Gorman said she then heard what sounded like a "pop gun," and when her husband rounded the end of the car he had been shot in the chest.

She said he had just placed their 8-month-old son on the ground when he was shot.

"We took him into the lobby of the hotel and laid him on the floor," Gail Gorman said. "I told him ‘I love you and these kids love you. You can’t leave.’"

Gorman’s oldest son Seth was there encouraging his dad to stay with them. Gail Gorman said she heard Seth tell his dad, "don’t go, I need you. It’s you and me."

Gail Gorman said they thought her husband was about to lose consciousness, but he look at Seth and winked.

Gail Gorman said it was just a matter of moments before the rescue people arrived, and took Rusty Gorman to Edge Regional Medical Center where he was placed in the Intensive Care Unit, and treated for a gunshot wound to the neck and chest area.

If this had to happen, I’m glad it happened in Troy," Gail Gorman said. "The people here have been wonderful and kind to us. I don’t know how we can thank all the people who have helped us.

"The emergency crew and the police department were great. The mayor and city council members have been in and out since it happened making sure everything was going okay."

Gail Gorman said one of the things that sticks out in her mind about the kindness of the people in Troy is the police officer who took her son’s clothes home and brought them back clean.

"My son was worried that he wasn’t going to have a clean uniform to wear at his game the next day," Gail Gorman said. "It was early in the morning by that time, and we didn’t know what to do. The officer took his uniform home, and his wife washed it and he brought it back to us at the hospital. You don’t find many people that will do that."

But more than just the police department, emergency crew and city officials, Gail Gorman said the entire community had been helpful.

"Churches have offered their help and we know we have been in their thoughts and prayers. And the doctors here are wonderful, too."

After the surgery, Gail Gorman said one of the doctors asked Rusty if he was a Christian.

"The doctor said, ‘the Lord must have something planned for you because you weren’t supposed to be here. We didn’t expect you to live,’" Gail Gorman said.

Later, after the surgery, when Rusty Gorman was able to see his family he shared another wink with his son, Gail said, telling Seth he was going to be okay.

"He winked at him and pointed to himself (Rusty) and to Seth, as if to say ‘it’s you and me.’ It was a very emotional time."

Yesterday, Rusty Gorman was moved from ICU to a room at ERMC, and was able to walk some and visit with his family and friends. Although, there is still a long road of recovery ahead the worst seems to be over, Gail Gorman said.

Gail said the whole event was a "nightmare and miracle all in one."

"We’re just glad we’ve got him back," she said.