Survivor of Detroit random shooting thanks neighbors for saving his life, dog

Posted at 10:51 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 09:50:51-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A survivor of Sunday’s mass shooting in Detroit is now home from the hospital along with his dog after both were shot on Sunday morning.

“We were down to the corner, went around the corner, started going down and there was a guy walking toward me,” 76-year-old John Palik recounted.

On Sunday morning, Palik was walking his dog on Pennington Drive near 7 Mile Road when a stranger came toward him. The interaction was caught on a neighbor's surveillance camera.

“I started speeding up a little bit and all of a sudden, two shots,” Palik said.

Off camera, you hear the shots ring out and Palik's dog Kingston in pain.

“He (Kingston) was so scared," Palik said. "He was laying there and his foot was bleeding.”

According to police, the 19-year-old shooter had allegedly shot and killed 3 other people that same morning. Police say he was mentally ill, shooting at random.

“They said if it would've been 4 inches different, I would have been gone,” Palik said of the bullet that struck his leg.

Amazingly, both Palik and his dog are home from the hospital. Their legs are bandaged, but their spirits intact, thanking those who saved their lives.

“Those people on that street deserve to have the highest model of honor there is," Palik said. "I could never in my life repay them for what they did.”

It turns out not all of those shots came from the gunman. A neighbor saw what was happening and shot at the gunman scaring him off.

“He saw my weapon and he went from predator to prey. He had that look of shock,” said a neighbor who grabbed his gun and shot back.

“The neighbor, he fired a shot and the guy turned around and took off. He scattered like a jack rabbit,” said Wallace Pleasant, who witnessed it.

The neighbors then rushed to Palik's aid, using a belt as a tourniquet before paramedics arrived. Palik says it’s because of their actions that he’s here today, and others might be too.

“The man up above and the Pennington folks decided I have to stay around here for some reason," Palik said with a smile. "And you know what? I’m going to take advantage of it.”

Related: Mother of five is one victim of what Detroit Police call 'random' shooting rampage