88-year-old Englewood man recounts being shot on porch
Bloodied and bruised, Arthur Bridgeford is back on his porch on South Parnell Avenue in Chicago today, one day after he was wounded by gunfire. Two other people were shot, one fatally, in the daytime attack. (Terrence Antonio James,Chicago Tribune / July 19, 2011)
"I get some fresh air and look at the girls pass by," Bridgeford said with a laugh Wednesday.
But Tuesday the pastime almost cost him his life. A gunman opened fire on two teens near Bridgeford’s house and an errant bullet struck him in the right arm as he leafed through a telephone book.
Theodore Thomas, 18, collapsed in front of Bridgeford's house after being fatally shot in the chest. The other teen was wounded in the abdomen but survived.
Thomas was to start his senior year at Fenger High School this fall, Chicago Public Schools spokesman Frank Shuftan said.
In an interview on his front porch Wednesday, Bridgeford, who was treated at Stroger Hospital and released Tuesday night, said he hadn’t even realized he had been shot until he noticed blood on his arm. The widower has been retired from a food plant for almost 30 years.
The shooting took place at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 7000 block of South Parnell Avenue. Chicago police said the two teens who were shot had gang ties.
Bridgeford, who gets around slowly with a cane, said the shooting will not deter him from enjoying his front porch. He has lived in the same residence for more than 50 years.
Shootings happen around his home “about once a month,” he said as he squinted through thick, dark-rimmed glasses as he sat in the same chair where he was shot a day earlier. A bandage covered the wound under a white dress shirt Bridgeford wore on Wednesday. And near his feet, droplets of blood stained the wooden floorboard, the only reminder of the shooting.
"He was just minding his own business,” Bridgeford’s daughter, Kim Carter, said of the shooting.
Tribune reporter William Lee contributed to this story.