Ross Capicchioni was only 17 when he was almost murdered as part of a gang initiation. Someone that Ross thought was his friend had him drive to a secluded location in Detroit. This so-called “friend” then produced a shotgun and fired three times at Ross, then stole his car and left him for dead. However, Ross didn’t die that day. He managed to walk far enough to be found by a probation officer who was driving by. “I felt his hand on my back like ‘hey man, you’re fine. Don’t, don’t don’t close your eyes. The ambulance is coming, they’re coming,’” Ross recounted of the event in a YouTube video.
Ross Capicchioni had known his potential murderer for ten years and believed him to be a friend. He recounted the day when this friend asked him to drive to his cousin’s house on the east side of Detroit. Ross knew immediately that this was a bad idea. “The east side, that’s like seven mile,” Ross said, “it’s like a third world country. The police, they won’t stop and get out of the car, they won’t pull you over.” Ross eventually relented and drove his supposed friend to where he needed to go. However, he recalled not feeling right about the situation. “I get that eerie feeling, like you’re in a bad spot,” Ross recalled. However, he shook the feeling off. “Because I knew him for so long I just thought, ‘it’s the D, it’s you know, whatever,’” Ross said.
It was only a moment after getting out of the car together before Ross was shot in his arm. After looking down and seeing the damage, Ross asked his friend, “did you shoot me?” That was when the second shot came, hitting Ross Capicchioni square in the chest. He collapsed to the ground, and then felt the barrel of the gun pressed against his head. “I smacked it away, but it was a shotgun so it sprayed.” Ross took damage to his head but recalled that he was still conscious when the friend hit him in the face with the butt of the gun.
The friend took Ross’ car keys and stole his car, leaving him for dead. “I look up and I see my Jeep Commander driving away,” Ross said. After being left alone, Ross miraculously refused to give up. He recalled feeling arms picking him up, then a hand pushing on his back, moving him forward. Several times he began to lose consciousness, but would not let himself fall asleep. “I’d be like dying, and I would wake myself up, like the third person, saying ‘hey man! Get up, you’re dying!’” Ross said of the ordeal. It was shortly after that he was found by the passing probation officer and taken to the hospital.
Ross Capicchioni was pronounced dead when he reached the hospital, but he heard the doctor say “no, I’m going to try and help him.” Ross received emergency surgery for his chest wound, and once he was stable, the doctors went to work on his head and arm. Ross recalled waking up in the hospital room, saying “I got this thing pumping air into my lungs so I start freaking out,” before hearing a nurse yelling “he’s awake! He’s awake!” The breathing tube was removed and the hospital staff began asking Ross questions. Unfortunately, he couldn’t recall the date, the president, or even his own name. The only thing he could remember was his father’s phone number.
Ross had been missing for three days. When his parents finally made it to the hospital he remembered telling his mom “you can’t get mad at me right now,” to which she responded, “mad?! You’re alive! You’re alive!” Five days after being shot and left for dead, Ross Capicchioni was released from the hospital and sent home. Ross recalled the moment he met with FBI agents who had come to talk to him. When they said his shooter’s name, Ross replied, “yeah I know him. That’s who shot me.” The agents told Ross that he was in custody because someone he had told about shooting Ross had informed the police. Ross’ shooter was arrested almost immediately after. Ross recalled going to court to testify against the kid who shot him. “I went in there man, in a wheelchair, head still stapled, no teeth, 105 pounds because of all the blood I lost, arm cast. I sat in front of forty of his family and him, and he couldn’t look me in the eye,” Ross said.
The second time Ross went back to testify at the final sentencing, he walked into the courtroom, fully healed. He remembered his shooter coming out “in a purple suit, top hat, cane, and sunglasses.” After telling his story the second time, Ross recalled the judge telling the shooter that he owed thanks to Ross, saying “If you would have killed Ross that day, you would have got life in prison, but since Ross is a warrior and survived, you get a second chance.” The shooter was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Ross’s story was made into a music video by rapper Joyner Lucas. In the music video, Ross’s story of survival is told through two point of view segments, told from both Ross’s and the shooter’s perspectives. Ross has said the entire situation gave him a new lease on life. “I’m so grateful for everything. I just look at what I got. I don’t look at what I don’t have. I look at what I have.”