A tragedy turned into a soul’s remedy


By Shantrell Scott


      NEW TAMPA—Four years ago, Leonard Holcomb, 24 was known as very outgoing, and at times, very reserved. His agenda mostly consisted of parties, ladies, and friends; a normal schedule for a teenager.

       But on June 7, 2003, the navy veteran and his family’s lives were shaken that even at this very moment has the family on edge. It was on that date at a gas station in Statesville, N.C. when Holcomb’s whole world was distorted by two men who scarred him for life.

     While doing a favor for a friend by picking up a car in North Carolina to take back to Miami, Holcomb and another friend that was with him decided to take a quick stop for some gas without being aware of what was about to soon take place. The friend then goes into the store, while Holcomb pumps the gas.

      All of a sudden two black men came up to Holcomb and in attempt to rob him of his jewelry and of his friend’s car, one of the young men pulls out a gun and firers. Holcomb is then shot in the shoulder and in the backside. While he is still conscious, Holcomb begins to call on someone that he may have never called on before. As he lies on the pavement, something happens to him that makes a lasting impact on Holcomb.

     “I remember lying on the ground, bleeding, and I noticed my breathing was getting heavy and my body was hurting very bad,” said Holcomb. “Then there was this man, he was older, who came over and took my hand to pray for me and at that moment, as soon as he touched me, all the pain went away and I could breathe normally. Although I never saw his face clearly and never got his name, I will never forget what he did for me; what God did for me.”

      Holcomb said that he believes that the old man was an angel sent by God to help him. In result of what happened, he is now more devoted to God and the practices of Christianity. His mother, Cynthia Holcomb, recalls that before the incident he really didn’t attend church, but after the tragic incident he became interested in being more spiritual due to him being given a chance to live to tell the story.



Incident brings on new found faith, new love and forgiveness 

       Now that it is the year 2007, the bullets are still found lodged inside of Holcomb’s neck and backside from the incident back in 2003. Doctors’ reasons for not removing the bullets were for the fear of worsening his condition. After spending five to six months in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital in Miami, the doctors proclaimed that he would never walk again because of the bullet being so close to his spine. But Holcomb views their analysis as incorrect because he believes that he will one day walk again. He believes that God has the final say on whether he walks or not. 

        It is impossible to believe that Holcomb doesn’t hold a grudge against the men that caused his life to be flipped upside down. Many people who have had been shot or have known someone to be shot, tend to be angry and plan revenge on the person(s) who did it.  Not Holcomb.

     He explains that he can’t spend his whole life being mad because it all happened for a reason and he doesn’t even regret it. Just being alive and seeing his 4-year-old son, Darius Holcomb, makes him happy and also motivates him to be patient when looking for a sign of recovery.

       Since the incident, Holcomb says that he has truly changed and has calmed down from being on the go all the time, to doing more relaxing things such as listening to the bible on CD, going to mall and the movies with his mother and watching his favorite football team, the University of Miami Hurricanes. He is such a big fan of UM that he personalizes his wheelchair with a huge UM sticker that is found on the back of the chair.

      Holcomb’s doesn’t let his condition take away his love for sports, especially football. He knows the plays and can watch the game without the volume turned on. Now that he is kept inside to do nothing, football has been all the excitement that he gets in one day.

      “I love it! I don’t know what I would do without it,” said Holcomb.

        In the midst of situation, Holcomb found what he calls “a special person” named Natasha, 26 who saw Holcomb for who he was and looked past the fact that he was paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

       “That’s my wife right there,” said Holcomb while looking at a photo of her on his $600 iPhone.

       The two met while going to therapy at the VA in Miami. Natasha was said to work there and he thought that she looked familiar. From then on, the two have been inseparable until about a year ago when he and the family had to move to Tampa in order to find a house to accommodate the special needs of Holcomb. The two still talk and he sometimes goes back home to see her while visiting his son in Miami.

      While his son and his 2 year relationship have been a great concern in his life at the present moment, Holcomb says that he still finds it hard to make friends because he doesn’t get out much. One reason for it is because of the attention that he brings once he’s outside of the house.

       “I hate the starring,” said Holcomb. “I think that is why I never went anywhere in the first years of the incident. But now I’m used to it, I guess?”



One Response to “A tragedy turned into a soul’s remedy”

  1. usfadvancedreporting Says:

    it sounds like a news story instead of a features.

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