“The only thing I remember is gunfire, falling, and then sky and light,” he said Friday, adding doctors told him he likely would have been killed if not for his shoulder pads. “They actually said that’s probably one of the things that slowed it down and probably saved my life ... They all told me that I was a walking miracle.”
Gwinnett County police said Duffee’s pads were on the ground next to him when they arrived at the scene. Officers noticed a bullet hole near the collar, according to an incident report. Shell casings were found on the field and on Lenora Church Road.
Doctors told the 24-year-old father that his shoulder pads likely saved his life.
Duffee broke two vertebrae when he fell, and the gunman’s bullet remains lodged near his carotid artery. Doctors told him it would be too risky to remove it, he said in a GoFundMe page set up to help cover his medical bills and expenses while he’s out of work the next two months.
Though his football career is likely over, Duffee said he’s willing to forgive the person who shot him and doesn’t want him locked up.
“I’d rather sit face to face with him, shake hands and say, ‘You know what? I forgive you,’ " he told Channel 2. “Let’s do something. Let’s make this life the best we can.”
Gwinnett police said the shooting remains under investigation.