Posted by By TOPE ADEBOBOYE, USA on
Among his missions in Los Angeles was to help find a cure for the incurable monster of gang violence. Ironically, just hours after landing in the city, he was lying in a pool of his own blood, an unfortunate victim of gang violence.
Among his missions in Los Angeles was to help find a cure for the incurable monster of gang violence. Ironically, just hours after landing in the city, he was lying in a pool of his own blood, an unfortunate victim of gang violence. Right now, Edward Izuchukwu Nwajagu lies unconscious at the Riverside Community Hospital in California, barely clinging to life, with a bullet sitting pretty inside his brain.
For the family, friends and associates of Nwajagu, the many dreams nursed by the 44-year-old businessman may be fast metamorphosing into a long nightmare. Since August 6, when a flying bullet from a gangster’s gun smashed into the Nigerian’s brain at a gas station in Riverside California, Nwajugu has remained on life support, with doctors describing his condition as very grave.
“It’s very sad indeed that we are faced with this kind of situation”, laments Edward Ejike Okpa, Nwajagu’s friend and Vice-Chairman of the Dallas Black Chambers of Commerce. “Many of us left Nigeria hoping there would be better security here. But look at what we are experiencing. I think this will open the eyes of our people to the fact that living in America also has its own tragic circumstances”.
Nwajugu came to the United States in the early eighties and settled in Oklahoma. He attended the University of Oklahoma, picking a degree in Criminology before veering into business. His grave ordeal commenced on the sunny afternoon of Saturday, August 6. The Oklahoma-based businessman had joined other members of the Anambra State Association in the United States (ASA-USA) for their convention in Los Angeles, California. Part of the forum’s agenda was to raise money for the Aguata/Orumba communities in Anambra State, and also to enlighten the young ones to flee the alluring malady of gangsterism that is fast turning the city of angels into an abode of gun-toting devils. After the meeting, a group of friends decided to visit one of their town’s men in Riverside. Along the way, they paused to refuel their car at a gas station on University Avenue.
And that was where the devil struck.
Unknown to Nwajagu and his friends, the neighborhood was at that moment experiencing one of the many battles between rival gangs, with bullets flying from every angle. According to the Riverside Police Department, Nwajagu was trying to open the door and get off the car to catch a glimpse of what was happening outside when a bullet ricocheted off the car and made its way into his brain.
“The victim and the other passengers heard popping noises outside the car but didn’t realize they were under fire”, said Sergeant Leon Phillips of the Riverside Police Department.
Already, Riverside Police have arrested a 27-year-old Latino man, Jose Enrique Martinez, in connection with the shooting. He has reportedly pleaded not guilty to charges of accessory after the fact and is still being held. Bail has been set at 1 million dollars, according to a report in the Press-Enterprise. Two other suspects believed to be connected with the shooting are being sought.
Nwajagu, however, remains in critical condition at the hospital, more than two weeks after the incident. The doctors are battling to find a way to remove the bullet lodged in his brain. But his condition is reportedly complicated by the swelling on his head which is making surgery an unattractive option.
But his friends are not giving up hope. Indeed, they believe the man known as Jagus will “resurrect” and walk again. They are making arrangements to raise money to offset the huge medical bills he would have incurred by the time he walks out of the hospital. Already, a Trust Fund has been instituted and they are appealing to kind-hearted people from all over the world to contribute money to this unfortunate victim of circumstance.
“Eddy is the shining light of his family. His parents are deceased and his entire family are looking up to him. He has an 18-year-old daughter in America and a young wife in Nigeria. We are appealing to people from America, Nigeria and indeed everywhere to assist by donating money to this Trust Fund”, says Ejike.
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