By Ed Runyan
For Jaleesa Moore, it’s remarkable that what seemed like gunshots in the distance could be a force so deadly and destructive.
Moore, 20, of Girard, said she and a friend left a fraternity party at the MetroPlex in Liberty early Sunday and proceeded to another party on Indiana Avenue, just north of the Youngstown State University campus.
She had been inside the home used by the Omega Psi Phi fraternity for maybe an hour, and nothing remarkable happened. Suddenly, some guys started pushing her away from one of the doors to the house.
“You guys need to get to the back,” they said.
“As we were trying to get to the back, we heard the gunshots,” she said.
Moore, a sophomore marketing major at Youngstown State, said the gunshots didn’t sound like they were coming into the house.
“It didn’t seem like they were really close,” she said.
“When the bullets started, people took off running. I heard people saying they were hit, but I didn’t see anyone get hit.”
While Moore was running, she realized a bullet had hit her in the elbow.
“I didn’t know I was hit until I saw the blood and then I felt pain,” she said.
At St. Elizabeth Health Center later, she learned that she had also been shot in her side — a bullet that had passed in and out of her body near her bra line but missed all vital organs.
“I was truly blessed,” Moore said of the bullet that could have killed her.
She wasn’t quite as lucky with the damage to her elbow, Moore said. Doctors told her the elbow was shattered, and the bones had to be surgically reconstructed. A metal device has been attached to the elbow to stabilize the bones while they heal.
The contraption, which she has to support with her other hand while she is walking, will remain on her elbow for four to six weeks. Eventually a sling will help her get around with it.
“It’s on my right arm, and I am dominant right-handed, so I can’t write,” she said from her home Wednesday, a day after being released from the hospital.
She doesn’t know yet how much the brace will limit her ability to get out of her home or get back into the classroom.
Moore said one of the first things she’s going to do is contact YSU to see whether anything can be arranged to help her do her schoolwork without the use of her writing hand.
Another frustration is being unable to hold her 9-month-old daughter, Olivia, because of the damage to the elbow that might result from a sudden movement.
Those things are minor, however, compared to tragedy of the death of Jamail Johnson, 25, who was closer to the doorway when the shooting started.
Moore said she saw Johnson at the party and knew that he was a member of the fraternity, but she didn’t know him personally. Nor did she see Shavai Owens, 17, who was critically injured, or the two men who police say committed the shootings.
“Everything happened so fast,” she said.
“I think it’s unfortunate that it happened,” Moore said of the magnitude of the incident and national media coverage it has received. “My heart goes out to Jamail Johnson’s family. He had so much going for him.”