After eloping to Florida, Jennifer and Caleb Cox were supposed to celebrate with friends and family back home.
Everything was set for their wedding at a ranch in Palmer.
“They had a mini-donkey that was going to bring flowers and beers around,” he said.
Those dreams and his life were nearly dashed early Monday morning.
“We were supposed to be at our wedding today, but instead we’re in the hospital,” she said.
The two, together for six years, are just thankful they’re together and that he’s alive.
“I can only take short, shallow breaths,” said Caleb. “The bullet fractured or broke a few ribs and then it collapsed my left lung.”
Dallas police say the 26-year-old bartender is the innocent bystander who was shot by Damion Williams.
Cox says he went to an Uptown bar with friends after work.
He was about to get into his friend’s truck when he heard a familiar sound.
“I was like damn, they’re shooting,” he remembers. “But then I felt a really bad sting, burn in my chest. I put my hand on it and then I pulled it off and there’s blood everywhere. I was like, ‘Oh, I got shot.’”
Some of the moments after are still a blur, he says.
He remembers his friends and strangers running to help him.
There was an officer who applied pressure to his wound.
“When I got shot, I was crying a lot, kinda did think I was going to die,” he said.
A resident at a building nearby happened to catch the incident on camera.
Video shows the brazen suspect walking onto McKinney Avenue and firing several shots toward a vehicle that is not seen on camera.
Police say a stray bullet hit Cox, who does not know the suspect.
“I didn’t even see him,” he said. “I just heard the shots.”
An injured Cox called his wife as friends rushed to his aid.
Police quickly caught the suspect around the corner.
Williams’ criminal history dates back to 2004 and includes arrests for stealing a semi and evading arrest.
The 36-year-old got 10 years probation for shooting a man in 2017, according to online court records.
Williams remains in Dallas County Jail and faces aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading charges.
It is unclear what led to the shooting.
Video showed the gunman tossing his gun toward a nearby business.
Kami Willyard of Oklahoma, the victim’s aunt, calls the young woman who shot the video ‘a hero’ for providing proof police and prosecutors can use in the case.
Willyard says her nephew is kind, funny and a great artist who’s endured the loss of several family members at a young age.
“If it had hit differently, he wouldn’t be here with us,” she said. “Today was supposed to be his wedding, but not we’re celebrating his life.”
His cousin Kara Carlile, also of Oklahoma, says it takes ordinary citizens like the Uptown resident to help end gun violence and get criminals off the streets, coupled with stricter laws to keep guns out of dangerous criminals’ hands.
“If we can just keep the momentum going, hopefully, we can get this taken care of,” said Carlile. “Otherwise people are going to lose more family and some people aren’t going to be as lucky as we were.”
Cox is expected to be released from the hospital in a day or two.
On the mend, this survivor and his bride will gladly reschedule their wedding, with a lot more to celebrate.
“Seeing how long it takes me to get fully recovered,” he said. “I’m down to go to my wedding in a wheelchair. I don’t care.”
Willyard says her nephew does not have health insurance.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help cover medical expenses. Click here for more information.