Shooting victim reunites with rescuer 25 years later

Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 2:13 PM CST
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BALTIMORE (WBAL) - It’s a reunion that’s over two decades in the making as a Maryland man finally gets to thank the doctor who saved his life after a shooting 25 years ago.

“It’s almost surreal. It’s like it’s not really happening,” Damon Walker said.

Walker fulfilled a wish he’s had of finding the man whose selfless act saved his life.

“When it does happen, I think it’s going to hit me like a ton of bricks,” Walker said before the meetup.

In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 1996, Walker had left a celebration, and was standing near Baltimore’s Hamburg Street bridge when he said he was robbed and shot.

Seconds later, he saw beams of light coming toward him.

That same morning, Dr. Michael Franks, a University of Maryland medical student at the time, was also leaving celebration. A wrong turn put him on the path of the gunfire.

“I hear two gunshots and they were very loud,” Franks said. “I saw a lot of people run.”

He saw a man who had been shot, lying in the street.

“I knew he was in trouble, and he didn’t have 10 to 15 minutes for an ambulance to come,” Franks said.

Franks put the man in his car and rushed the critically injured stranger to shock trauma only a few minutes away.

He gave a statement to police then moved on with his life.

Walker did the same.

Although the gunshot left him paralyzed, he was thankful to be alive. He learned how to get around his home, take care of himself and became a violence prevention specialist at a Baltimore hospital.

However, he knew was something he needed to do.

For years, Walker remained determined to find the man who saved his life. Recently, his mother spent several months on the internet and finally found the right Michael Franks.

Franks is now a physician at Virginia Urology in Richmond, Virginia, specializing in cancer therapy. He’s a soft-spoken man who said he’s uncomfortable with the spotlight on himself.

With nervous anticipation, Walker finally got Franks on the phone.

That led to a reunion in Virginia, where the two talked like old friends, reminiscing about a day when both wondered what the future would hold.

“Literally, I thought you were an angel,” Walker said when he met with Walker. “I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t say anything.”

The lives of the two men were transformed in the early morning hours of that New Year’s Day.

“He changed both our lives in a great way. He found purpose. I found purpose. It was a divine night,” Walker said. “For everything bad that happened, good, a lot of great good came out of it.”

The two even shared a hug during the meetup.

“I think my action was heroic, but I don’t consider myself a hero,” Franks said. “The time, the place, the circumstances. I acted. I didn’t think about it. I would do it again.”

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