YOUNGSTOWN - Jaleesa Moore just wanted to celebrate her 20th birthday by going out with friends. Now doctors tell her she won't be able to hold her 9-month old daughter for two months.
Moore said she went to a party at the Metroplex in Liberty to celebrate her Feb. 1 birthday and she and a friend caught wind of a party at a house near the Youngstown State University campus.
Moore, in her second year at Youngstown State University, gave birth to her daughter nine months ago and wanted to get out to celebrate. She and a friend were inside the Omega Psi Phi fraternity house at 55 Indiana Ave. when she heard people bustling near the door.
"I guess something happened before," Moore said via phone from her bed at St. Elizabeth Health Center late Sunday. "I guess there was something that happened but nothing that made me think something like this would happen."
Moore said a large group of people started gathering near the door, and a male friend rushed toward them to help usher them out of the back of the house.
Everybody near the door backed quickly against the wall, some started running toward the back door. That's when she heard gunshots.
Moore was one of 12 people shot at the party about 3:30 a.m. Sunday at a house near the YSU campus. Several of the shooting victims, including Moore and Jamail Johnson, 25, who was killed by gunfire, were YSU students.
Braylon Rogers, 19, and Columbus Jones, 22, both of Youngstown, are charged with aggravated murder, discharging a firearm into a habitation and 11 counts of felonious assault. Neither men are YSU students, according to the university.
Police said the two men, who were kicked out of the party, came back and shot through the open front door.
Moore was shot in the right elbow and in the left side while trying to escape. She said she didn't realize she was shot until she went to balance herself and felt a sharp pain.
"I thought I got hit with a cap gun," she said. "The gun didn't sound like a regular gun, that's why I thought I was hit with a firecracker or something. I went to catch my balance and looked down and saw the blood."
Moore said she ran outside and got into her car, and lost her friend in the chaos. Her tearful friend then found her and drove her to the hospital.
She said she will undergo surgery for her shattered elbow today. She said the surgeons needed to confer with her other doctors because she is still breast feeding her newborn.
"I haven't seen her since I left around 10 p.m. (Saturday)," Moore said of her daughter. "After I do get surgery I won't be able to pick her up for at least six or seven weeks. I'm not sure if that includes recovery time and rehab, or just recovery. I hope I'll be able to because her birthday is in April."
Ira Logan, the grandfather of YSU student Tejohn J. Lawrence, 19, who was shot in the foot at the party, said he received the call from his grandson early Sunday that he'd been shot.
Logan said Lawrence was released early in the morning, has his right foot wrapped up for recovery and felt well enough to go to a Super Bowl party later in the evening.
Logan said his grandson drove himself to the hospital.
"He's a freshman in college," Logan said. "That was the first party he went to. He told us he's never going to another party again."
Logan added: "It's very unfortunate that he got shot, but we're very fortunate that he got shot in the foot. It could have been a lot worse."
Benola Ruffin received a similar call about 3:45 a.m.
Her niece, Jamie Ruffin, 20, whom she raised and lives with, called to tell her she was shot and was going to the hospital.
When Benola Ruffin went to St. Elizabeth's, she said the waiting room was "chaotic." She said there were a lot of student-aged kids waiting and parents rushing in to find out their child's status.
"It's the worst feeling in the world to get that call," Benola Ruffin said. "I didn't know what I was feeling until her brother and I got to the hospital and saw how she was."
Jamie Ruffin was shot in the pelvis. Her aunt said the bullet passed through her back and out her hip and missed all vital organs and arteries. Her niece was released in the morning and, besides pain, is moving around well, she said.
"I hope those two guys are the ones who did it and they get what's coming to them," Benola Ruffin said. "You can't just go shooting into a house full of college kids."