About seven months ago doctors were preparing Corey Dooley’s family for the worst, telling his mother the 15-year-old had about a 30 percent chance of surviving the multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, back, hip, and stomach, but you wouldn’t know anymore that the teen was ever in danger.
On Saturday, he stood confidently in front of a crowd at DeSoto’s River of Life Church and shared his story of survival against domestic violence in hopes others would take a stand.
"It replays in my mind every now and then, so I'll never forget it,” said Dooley thinking back to October 16th.
It was that night Dooley, his little brother, and his mother Nicole Rishard were returning from a football game to Dooley’s grandmother’s home in Desoto. The family had been living there since Rishard left her estranged husband, Richard Richard, several weeks earlier.
Rishard says they’d just pulled into the garage and were closing the door when it reopened half-way through.
"The next thing we knew my husband at the time was standing there with a gun pointed at us and started shooting my son,” she said.
Police said Dooley was wounded several times including in the chest.
"I'm just saying God, please don't let him shoot my mom in the head, please don't let him shoot my mom in the head,” Dooley told the church crowd Saturday recalling his attempts to protect his mother while she tried to protect him.
Rishard says she was eventually able to start their car back up and get her sons away from the scene; after being shot herself in the arm. The family made it to a Walgreens parking lot where Dooley was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery.
However the family is not forgetting their experience; in-fact they want to make sure others hear it.
"You hear domestic violence on the news and you think, aw man, it's just another bad thing in the world, but when things happen, you see, you get a feel for it and you say, aw man this really is an issue, like we need to fix it,” said Dooley.
During Saturday’s rally the family hoped their story would inspire other victims of domestic violence to take action before the situation gets worse, and inspire others in the community to see the warning signs of problems in their friends and families.
"I didn't know how to get out of the situation, I didn't know how to walk away from it and I was also afraid of walking away,” said Rishard. "You have to risk losing your life in order to protect your life, because if you stay there you might not have a life."
"Stop letting people take your joy, steal your peace, take it back,” said Dooley’s grandmother speaking to the crowd.