Victor Hugo wrote: Perseverance, secret of all triumphs. This is a story about a 17-year-old who miraculously triumphed over certain death.

Ross Capicchioni was shot and left for dead as part of a gang initiation. And the shooter was someone who Ross thought was his friend, he had known him for ten years. This “friend” asked Ross to go with him to his cousin’s house on the east side of Detroit. Immediately, Ross knew this was a bad idea.

“The east side, that’s like seven mile,”  Ross said, “it’s like a third world country. The police, they won’t stop and get out of the car, they won’t pull you over.”

Ross suppressed his uneasy feelings and drove his car to the east side of the city. The whole time, it just felt wrong.

“I get that eerie feeling, like you’re in a bad spot,” Ross recalled. “Because I knew him for so long I just thought, ‘it’s the D, it’s you know, whatever,’” Ross said.

As soon as Ross got out of the car, this “friend” shot him in the arm. He looked down at the wound as said, “Did you shoot me?”

Another shot rang out, this time hitting him square in the chest. Ross collapsed and soon felt the barrel of the gun against his head.

“I smacked it away, but it was a shotgun so it sprayed.”

Although it is hard to believe, Ross was conscious after being shot three times. This gang murderer hit him in the head with the butt of the gun and took off in Ross’ car.

“I look up and I see my Jeep Commander driving away.”

This is where Ross showed the “secret of all triumphs…”

He persevered, got up and walked to somehow save his life. He miraculous encountered a probation officer who stopped to help him. Without this man, Ross would most certainly be dead.

“I felt his hand on my back like ‘hey man, you’re fine.  Don’t, don’t don’t close your eyes. The ambulance is coming, they’re coming,’” Ross said in a YouTube video.

Ross wouldn’t let himself lose consciousness. “I’d be like dying, and I would wake myself up, like the third person, saying ‘hey man! Get up, you’re dying!’”

When he arrived at the hospital, he was pronounced dead. But he actually heard a doctor say, “no, I’m going to try and help him.”

The doctor performed emergency surgery on his chest wound and got him stabilized. Then the medical team went to work on his head and arm wounds.

When the 17-year-old woke up after surgery, he recalled his response:“I got this thing pumping air into my lungs so I start freaking out,” before hearing a nurse yelling “he’s awake! He’s awake!”

Ross couldn’t remember his name, the date or even the president, but he did remember his father’s phone number. He had been missing for three days by now, so when his parents arrived at his hospital bed, Ross said to his mother: “You can’t get mad at me right now,” to which she responded, “Mad?!  You’re alive! You’re alive!”

Five days after being shot and left for dead, Ross was released from the hospital and sent home. He was questioned by FBI officials, and when they said the shooter’s name Ross responded, “Yeah I know him. That’s who shot me.”
His shooter was already in custody because someone he’d bragged to about the shooting contacted authorities.

The first time Ross had to testify against the shooter, his former “friend,” he recalled: “I went in there man, in a wheelchair, head still stapled, no teeth, 105 pounds because of all the blood I lost, arm cast. I sat in front of forty of his family and him, and he couldn’t look me in the eye,” Ross said.

But the second round of testimony was very different. Ross was completely healed and walked into the courtroom to tell his story. The shooter showed up wearing a purple suit, sunglasses, a top hat and carrying a cane.

The judge didn’t mince words with the offender and told him he owed Ross his thanks.

“If you would had killed Ross that day, you would have got life in prison, but since Ross is a warrior and survived, you get a second chance.”

 

The shooter received 35 years behind bars.

This amazing story of perseverance has given Ross a new view about his life. His experience even made it into a music video by rapper Joyner Lucas.

“I’m so grateful for everything. I just look at what I got.

With thanks to a probation officer, a tenacious doctor and the courage of a teenage boy, Ross has shown us the secret of all triumph: Perseverance.

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