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Victim in shooting at Ramadan event in West Philadelphia "traumatized" but in good spirits, father says

Father reflects as son recovers from West Philadelphia shooting at Ramadan event
Father reflects as son recovers from West Philadelphia shooting at Ramadan event 02:04

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While Philadelphia police continue to investigate the shooting that injured three people at a Ramadan event in West Philadelphia Wednesday, one of the victims injured in the chaos is recovering but traumatized, his father said.

Nahshon Thomas, 22, was shot in the stomach at Clara Muhammad Square Wednesday and is recovering from a successful surgery.

"I was in a sorrow moment thinking that I wasn't going to see my son again," Thomas' father Corey Taylor said, reflecting on the moment when he found out his son was among the victims of the shooting.

"Hug, love and appreciate and value their children because they [might] not be here tomorrow," is Taylor's message for other parents, he said.

Thomas was among about 1,000 people attending the religious event celebrating Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, when police say gunshots were fired between two groups.

In that moment, Thomas and others were running for their lives.

"No one should have to experience and go through the atrocity at a religious service whether it's a synagogue, whether it's a masjid, whether it's a church … [or] a school. Everybody should feel safe," Taylor said. 

CBS News Philadelphia obtained surveillance video from nearby Lei's Auto, which captured the moment people ran for safety.

Surveillance video shows people running from gun shots during West Philadelphia Ramadan event 01:46

Taylor said his son is traumatized.

"He was crying," Taylor said. "I had to kiss him on his forehead."

Taylor added he told his son "I love you" to calm him down. 

Thomas' father said he never thought his son would become a victim of gun violence.  

Thomas works at West Phillie Produce, where he helps provide community members with food, clothes and other necessities.

It's part of an anti-violence program. Like others in the community, Thomas' father is calling for people to put the guns down.

"I want these children to know they got a chance, just look at positive role models," Taylor said. 

Thomas' boss, Arnett Woodall, said Thomas never called in sick since the two started working together nearly two years ago.

Woodall called him a wonderful young man. He remembers the call he received from Thomas' mother hours after the shooting.

"She called me to let me know what was going on. And I haven't been able to sleep since," he said.

Woodall says he's grateful that no one was killed at the celebration.

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