As police continue the hunt for the gunman who pumped multiple shots into Cyprian Payne’s body as he helped extinguish a fire at the home of his girlfriend’s mother, the 28-year-old sportsman is calling his survival a miracle.
Out of a coma and sitting up in bed at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he has been warded since September 19, the cricketer and national hockey player told Barbados TODAY that he felt blessed to be alive.
He is not quite out of the woods, as he is awaiting more surgeries, but Payne said the fact that he has reached this stage in his recovery is more than enough for him to give thanks to God for allowing him to live to see his four-year-old son.
The Courtesy Garage employee was sleeping in the early hours on that fateful Friday morning when a fire started in the patio of the house. He rushed outside to help, but whoever was outside waiting shot him at least six times.
The shooter is still at large.
“Right now I am just glad to be alive and give thanks to everybody who was there for me because, at one point, knowing that I was shot so many times I thought I wouldn’t have made it through. When I got shot the number one thing on my mind was seeing my son,” he said.
Payne, who was preparing for an overseas tournament with the national hockey team, said the shooting was “a surprise”.
He did not want to go into details about the ordeal, saying he preferred “not to talk about what happened that night”.
Nevertheless, he recalled: “When I finally opened my eyes I was glad that I was still here because I knew what happened. I was conscious throughout travelling to the hospital in the ambulance so when I opened my eyes I knew exactly where I was and then I was glad to see my mother [Donna Small] there.”
Small said she was trying to remain strong for her son.
She said while she was grateful her only child was alive she was afraid about the complications that could be caused by the bullets still lodged in his body.
She was overseas at the time of the shooting and cut her trip short to be at Payne’s side by the morning after.
Small was traumatized by the sight of her son hooked up to machines and tubes in the Intensive Care Unit.
“He did not look very good at all. You hear about things but when you actually experience it, it is a different story,” the emotional mother said.
“Actually, doctors said that it was a miracle he made it through the next morning. I had my faith that he would live through but there was still that daunting feeling over me.
“I don’t really sleep at night because I think they are going to call me to tell me something happened. Coming on to morning I get a little rest, but at night I get this feeling.”
Small thanked everybody who prayed for her son or offered emotional or tangible assistance.
“I want to thank the doctors and all the nurses and hospital staff who were there for him . . . . When he first came he wanted blood really bad and his hockey team and his cricket team and his co-workers and his friends went and gave blood and I am very grateful to them for that. I am always thankful to everybody who prayed,” she said.
The wounded man’s workmate Hartlene Oughterson described him as a peaceful and fun loving individual whom she viewed as a little brother.
She said all the employees at the Garage went into a state of shock when they heard what had happened to their co-worker who was known to keep out of trouble.
“Everybody just wants to see Cyprian get his life back where he can go back to doing what he loves and being with the people he loves,” Oughterson said.
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