Patterson High quarterback Buddy Edmond is noted for his toughness. You get that way after surviving a gunshot wound to the stomach from a .44-caliber Magnum.
It all happened quickly on the evening of March 10, 1990.
Edmond, teammate Ron Green and assistant coach John Runk were coming back from Eastpoint Mall after shopping for batting gloves.
As Edmond got out of the passenger side of Runk's car to let Green out of the back, a man holding a pistol emerged from a house next door to Green's home. After twice saying, "You think I'm joking," the gunman fired one shot into the air and the next into Edmond's stomach.
"I didn't even know I was shot," Edmond said. "I looked down and saw a hole in my stomach, and then I saw a hole in my back and all this blood all over the seat of the car."
Doctors at Francis Scott Key Medical Center operated on Edmond for nearly 10 hours to stop the bleeding and repair a damaged bowel. Edmond spent 40 days in the hospital, and his weight dropped from 200 pounds to 130. Doctors had to perform two more operations to repair the damaged bowel, and for a time Edmond wore a colostomy bag.
Seventeen months later, Edmond has recovered completely and preparing for his second football season after doctors speculated he never would play again. Last fall, Edmond led the Clippers to the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference championship game, passing for 1,802 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Clippers lost to Lake Clifton in the championship game, 28-25.
This fall, the junior is hoping to lead the Clippers to their third consecutive trip to the conference championship game, and no one is doubting his ability to do so.
Physically, Edmond is 100 percent. He has grown to 6 feet 2 and is back up to 200 pounds. Weightlifting every day this summer has improved his strength and enlarged his upper body. He plans to wrestle this winter for the first time. He also is a standout baseball catcher.
"The main thing is that Buddy saved himself," said Runk. "He's very strong and has a will to live. Everything he does, he loves to be on top. That's why Buddy is still here today -- because of his willingness to be here. If he wants to be a doctor, he will be a doctor. If he wants to be a lawyer, he will be a lawyer. If he wants to be a professional player, he will be a professional player."
Runk's quick thinking and bravery may have saved Edmond's life that night in March.
While Green ran into the house to call police, Runk rushed to the passenger side of the car to Edmond's aid.
"I stood in front of Buddy, and he [the gunman] pointed the gun at me," said Runk. "I turned around to face Buddy and he still had the gun pointed at me. Buddy crawled into the back of car, and I got back in and rushed him to the hospital."
Police later arrested 20-year-old William Albert Hedge. Last May Hedge was sentenced to two 10-year terms at the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown for assault with intent to murder and the use of a handgun.
Edmond, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, said he never had met Hedge. The shooting apparently stemmed from Edmond's friendship with a girl. Edmond says Hedge was the boyfriend of the sister of Runk's girlfriend (now his wife). Edmond says he was friends with Hedge's girlfriend but was not interested in dating her.
"It was a senseless street crime, just totally senseless," said Patterson football coach Roger Wrenn. "We didn't know if he would live or die for a while. We didn't know if he'd be paralyzed. We didn't know if he'd have control over his bowels. The last thing we thought about was whether he'd be able to play again."
It was the first thing on Edmond's mind.
"The first thing he said to me when I was driving him to the hospital was, 'Am I going to be able to play baseball?' " said Runk. "He asked the same thing when he woke up [from surgery]."
Runk said Edmond was depressed for a short period but during most of his hospital stay he talked of returning to sports.
"At first he showed signs of worry about his career," said Runk. "He worried about wearing the colostomy bag but that was just a brief period. Once he realized the bag was temporary, he was strong, brave and kept his sense of humor."
The shooting left Edmond with a 12-inch scar down the center of his stomach. It also left him with a new outlook on life.
"It's just scary to see how life could end so fast," said Edmond. "Just one shot and you won't see the people who care about you if you die. All over something stupid, something that didn't have a purpose. I've hit the books harder. I had almost missed that baseball season because of my grades."
Edmond never was a problem student, but the change since the shooting has been apparent to his coaches.
"I've noticed that he's putting much more effort into his schoolwork," Runk said. "He values learning. He values his friends a lot more and values his family a lot more. I see him much more dedicated in the whole spectrum. He no longer sees sports as the only thing offered to him by God."