JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The first time Jordan Williams, a 23-year-old Hooters worker, saw Timothy Anselmo, a 25-year-old professional gamer, Anselmo was running away from the mass shooting at the Jacksonville Landing on Sunday.
Anselmo had been shot three times when one of the competitors in a “Madden NFL 19” video game tournament opened fire. Williams grabbed the bleeding stranger and hid him in the Hooters kitchen, placing pressure on his wounds and trying to calm him until paramedics could arrive.
After Anselmo was loaded in the ambulance, the men thought of each other, wondering if they’d meet again, until Monday, when they reunited in Anselmo’s hospital room at UF Health Jacksonville. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution connected them at the request of Anselmo’s grandmother, Maria, who’d been desperate to thank the young man.
Williams ended up staying at the hospital for hours with the Anselmos and getting to know the victim, who’d just come out of surgery.
“Brothers for life,” Williams said. “The family says I’m family for life.”
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Anselmo posted a photo on Twitter of himself and Williams, Anselmo looking worn out from surgery and Williams beaming at the bedside.
“Jordan Williams, You Are My Hero,” Anselmo posted. “You Helped Save My Life.”
Someone retweeted it, asking Hooters to give Williams a raise.
Given the chance, he might take it, but he’s been quick to brush off the hero talk.
He said he’d picked up first-aid from his mom and sister, who are nurses, and had also once had to help a friend who’d been shot. When chaos erupted at the Landing, where two young men were killed and a dozen were wounded before the shooter killed himself, Williams felt a strange calm wash over him.
He helped lock down the restaurant, had the waitresses hide in an office and he stayed at Anselmo’s side in the kitchen, pressing cloth to the wounds on his chest, hip and hand.
“I’m just happy I was able to help,” Williams said.
He was happy to see Anselmo again, especially to see with his own eyes that, though the hand injury could halt his gaming career, the man in the hospital bed was alive.
The moment Anselmo saw Williams he broke into tears.
Channel 2's Justin Wilfon is in Florida with the latest on the investigation.