A sigh of relief from 17-year-old victim - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

A sigh of relief from 17-year-old victim

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Posted: Friday, August 4, 2006 12:00 am | Updated: 3:46 pm, Wed Jun 19, 2013.

Serial shooting victim Kibili Tambadu of east Phoenix said he was watching television news about world events at 2:18 a.m. Friday when a local newscaster broke in with a special bulletin.

Interrupting reports on Mideast fighting, the newscaster announced the capture of two men authorities believe are responsible for a spree of shootings and killings throughout the Valley, including Tambadu's brush with death earlier this summer.

"I was like, man, get those bastards!" Tambadu said. "What those guys did wasn't right."

At 10:05 p.m. on May 2, Tambadu, 17, was walking south in the 400 block of North 44th Street in Phoenix after purchasing a gallon of milk and some groceries for his family when he was hit in the back with a shotgun blast.

Large scars still can be seen on his right elbow and back, and two fingers on his right hand are paralyzed.

"I'm relieved they caught them," Tambadu said. "Now, I can take a breath of fresh air."

Tambadu moved with his mother and three older siblings to Phoenix in 1999 after living in a refugee camp in Gambia for six years. His family had fled the war-torn region of Sierra Leone in West Africa, where his father was shot and killed when he was 2, he said.

The 5-foot 11-inch, 220-pound Tambadu said he wasn't knocked down by the shot, but saw a car speed away as he stood frozen in shock, unable to move.

"I had blood all over myself, and my body was shaking from shock," he said Friday afternoon, as he clutched and shook the back of the couch in the living room of his family's small apartment in Roosevelt Plaza in east Phoenix.

Tambadu said he walked to a nearby hotel where he told workers he had been shot, and they called an ambulance. He spent two days in Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix.

As his mother rode in the police car following the ambulance, she heard about a shooting in Scottsdale minutes later that night.

Claudia Gutierrez-Cruz, 20, of Phoenix was shot as she was walking in the 6100 block of East Thomas Road in Scottsdale about 10:28 p.m. She died about three hours later.

"After I was shot, I was scared with the world," Tambadu said. "Whenever I'd walk somewhere, I'd think, 'Am I going to get shot right now?’”

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