Bass Pro shooting victim is ‘thankful’ to be alive

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG learned more information about the three men who were shot moments before Officer Verdell Smith was hit and killed. Two shooting victims are in critical condition, and another is recovering at home. 21-year-old Christopher Dickens, who is an employee at the Bass Pro Pyramid, spoke to WREG about the terrifying night. “We were like ‘is this really happening?’ It kind of wasn’t real you know,” Dickens said. “Did I really just get shot?” Dickens is still waking up from a nightmare. “Before I could think of anything really, he just rolls his window down,” Dickens said. The Bass Pro Pyramid employee said he was bringing in baskets from the parking lot when Justin Welch pointed a gun and pulled the trigger. “Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,” Dickens described the gunshots. Chris was hit in the leg and arm. “A pretty big one. An explosion. Like half — a chunk of my flesh was gone,” Dickens described. Chis, who has worked at Bass Pro’s Pyramid location since it opened, had cuts and scrapes on his body. “This is just like a graze wound or something,” he showed WREG the injuries. Dickens’ phone stopped another bullet from hitting his side. “I could have bled out even worse if, you know, that had not happened,” he explained. Chris was one of three shooting victims Saturday night. “When I hear about the cop, and I hear about them, I’m thankful for what I came out with,” Dickens said. Friends created a circle of support around Joshua Walton as he laid in his hospital bed. He and Al Sakan were shot outside of Westy’s in the Pinch District. Sakan moved to the United States of America from war-torn Syria only to be caught in the middle of gunfire on the streets of Memphis. “I didn’t expect to get shot that night,” Dickens told WREG. “I didn’t expect anything like that. You know?” Officer Smith didn’t expect to die in a situation Dickens said anyone could have been involved in on that crazy night. “Right after it happened that’s the only thing I could really think about is just you know. I just prayed to God. Just, you know, thank you,” Dickens concluded.

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