Teen shot outside Chester pizzeria out of hospital - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Teen shot outside Chester pizzeria out of hospital

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - In one week, 18-year-old Michael Dudley has gone from high school graduate to hero after risking his life to protect a stranger. Tuesday the Chester teen was finally back at home.

A silver cross is now Dudley's lucky charm. It was wrapped around his neck the night he was shot outside Pietro's Pizza Restaurant in Chester.

"I was only shot once," Dudley said.  "Two inches below my belly button."

With the bullet staying forever in his body, and the scar stretching more than six inches from his chest to his stomach, Dudley is a different person.  He won't ever forget the night that changed his life, the night he attempted to help a woman in need.

"I just saw this guy beating his wife up and at first I wasn't going to do anything because I figured somebody else would jump in but then nobody was moving so I wasn't thinking, I just threw my hat and took off running," he said.

The woman managed to get inside the restaurant. Dudley says he kept guard outside while the man with the gun stood four feet away.

"But then he just had a moment where he froze and he turned to his left, shot his wife twice. And then I thought he wasn't going to shoot me but then he just turned shot me, boom and took off running," Dudley said.

The Thomas Dale graduate admits he didn't know he was shot until he lifted his shirt. His stint in the hospital lasted 6 nights, but he's still dealing the pain and can barely walk. He would still do it again.

"I just felt like I was able to help her, so I figured I would go ahead and try to help her," he said.

He's also adjusting to the overwhelming amount of support from friends, family and strangers.

"I didn't realize some people cared about me and I appreciate it. Especially when I finally got my phone in the hospital and turned my phone on -- I had over 100 text messages coming in at one time of just people showing me how much they cared and it kind of caught me off guard."

If the support caught him off guard, being called a hero makes him uncomfortable.

You're an 18-year-old guy who stepped in to help a complete stranger,you got injured. If you don't think that's a hero, what do you think a hero is? "You can call it what you want, I was just doing what was right."

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