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Feb 24, 1998

Shooting victim slowly recovers

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We last heard from Deon Smith as the victim of a drunken policeman intent on playing Russian Roulette — with Deon’s life. Although a bullet still lingers inside his head, the twenty one year old security guard is making a slow but miraculous recovery. Patrick Jones visited him this morning.

If life was a game of inches, twenty one year old Deon Smith could be considered a walking testimony from the winning side. The .38 caliber bullet from a policeman’s gun that tore through his head earlier this month, is now lodged deep in Smith’s brain. His mother says she’s been advised by doctors in Chetumal that trying to remove the slug would do more harm than good.

Marva Pratt, Deon’s Mother

“No, the bullet has not removed because the doctors say that it went too much, too far up in the brain, so they are not able to take it out and he say he wouldn’t advise me to take him anywhere to any other doctor because where the bullet lodge up in the brain, it?s too far up to come out, he said he would probably be a veg if I take him to see any other else doctor.”

With the worst of the ordeal now hopefully behind them, the family, especially Marva Pratt, is doing all they can to cope with the difficult task of nursing Deon back to recovery.

Marva Pratt

“It?s very hard for me in a sense because you know I have Deon, my son, and when I look at him, it?s hard for me not to look at him always and cry because my heart just get filled and I try to hold back the tears, you know because I look at him and say God blessed me with my child perfect, he born good and to see that just due to the drunkenness of a policeman, due to alcohol I would say, caused my child to be suffering like this and who knows how much he will have to suffer in the near future.”

While there is little the family can do to ease Smith’s suffering, the road to full recovery will be paved by the fervent prayer of a loving mother. Pratt told News Five that when doctors and nurses at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital thought they could do nothing more for her son, she went above their heads and had a talk with the greatest “Physician” of them all.

Marva Pratt

“I stood by the door and they kept moving back and forth, in and out so I could look at Deon there lying on the bed and while I was looking at him, the only thing I could have done for him at the time was started to pray. And that’s what I did, the whole while I stood there waiting to see him. I was praying in my mind while tears running down my cheeks.”

Prayers, tears and some anxious moments were all part of the process of getting Smith to Clinica Carranza in Chetumal.

Marva Pratt

“They noticed that the bullet had entered on the right side of his nose, traveled across to his left ears, hit a bone and then went up.”

Within a week’s time, Smith underwent two surgeries, first to repair damage in the area of the nose, allowing him to breathe more easily and then to remove some broken bones from the side of his head. The trauma of the incident has apparently erased his short term memory as Smith has no recollection of the shooting incident at Raul’s Rose Garden that landed him in the hospital; but he is grateful for all the assistance his family is giving him.

Deon Smith, Shooting Victim

“Sometimes when ah go sleep for ah feel good just mek she feed wah lee penicillin and so ah go sleep.”

Marva Pratt

“If I never know Him and had the faith, I don’t think Deon would have been here right now. I really don’t think that he would have been here.”

Q: “So you say it?s a miracle?”

Marva Pratt

“Yes, it?s a miracle because the doctors and nurses in the Belize City hospital, they didn’t want me to move him, but I did and the doctor in Chetumal said if I didn’t move him, that eventually he would have died because the swelling would have gotten worst and pressed the brain and that would have caused the heart to stop.”

But it didn’t stop. And Pratt says that while the family is yet to get a sympathy call from the police, the fact that Deon was able to walk out of the hospital on his own is satisfaction beyond compare.

Marva Pratt, Deon’s Mother

“When I went there and they finished the operation and everything with him, well I couldn’t expect it in a day or two, because healing doesn’t come in one day. But I was just praying when the doctor came and tell me that if he couldn’t sit up for so long, like in an hour or hour and a half I would have to take him back in the ambulance and I said I don’t want that. I say I want whenever we ready to go home he could be able to walk in a taxi and when I get at my gate in Ladyville he could walk out and walk in the house. You know at least it would give me the satisfaction that he is improving.”

And when it is all over, Deon Smith will have his mother’s unwavering faith to thank for it all. Patrick Jones, for News Five.

Marva Pratt says the doctors at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital are refusing to sign the papers necessary for her to get Social Security assistance to pay her son’s medical bills. She would like to thank all those who have extended a helping hand, however, whether in the form of cash or prayers. Alex Grant, the officer who shot Smith in the early morning hours of Saturday January thirty first at Raul’s Rose Garden, has been charged with attempted murder and is currently free on bail.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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