Fair shooting victim has constant reminder - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

A year later, bullet rests centimeters from fair shooting victim's heart

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The Coastal Empire Fair had a record-breaking opening day.

At last count Thursday night, attendance was up 30 percent over opening day 2012. Organizers say they believe Savannahians are ready to move on after eight people were shot at the fair last year.

For Marquis Mason, 20, moving on isn't easy.

Mason still has a bullet resting three centimeters from his heart a year after being shot at the fair.

In the middle of the fair week last year, shots rang out on the fair's midway.

The Chatham County District Attorney's office says it was a shootout between rival gangs.
The eight people hit by the bullets are believed to be innocent bystanders.

Marquis Mason was talking with friends on the night of Nov. 3 when he heard the gunshots. He turned around, saw a man's pistol flash and ran.

He didn't know he'd been shot until he fell. He reached down, saw his hand covered in blood and lost consciousness.

Mason woke up in the hospital. He didn't leave there until Thanksgiving and left with a thin wall of scar tissue separating that bullet from his heart.

Mason said doctors have told him removing it is risky.

"It's a 50/50 chance," Mason said. "Anything could happen."

Mason has persistent chest pain but is happy to be alive.

"It could've happened to anybody that night," he said. "I'm just thankful that nobody didn't (sic) get killed."

For District Attorney Meg Heap, the shooting is still a tragedy.

"Our kids are being shot, and they're there for just having good-hearted fun, and they are being victims of violent crimes," she said. "It's not the only crime we have, and it's not the only time we've had children being victimized, but we've got to take a stand."

That stand has sparked some controversy in the communities where the gang suspects live. These suspects say they aren't part of a gang, just a group of friends.

But gang or no gang, Marquis Mason's father wants justice.

"It doesn't matter who it is," Pastor Eric Mason said. "I think those people should be dealt with accordingly.

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