The Mobile community has anxiously been awaiting CJ Small’s return, after he was shot in the face during a business trip in South Africa last month. He came back home this past weekend. And this Monday he was back on the job, visiting students in a summer program with the Boys and Girls Club.
“It feels great to be back with the people of district of 3 and the people of Mobile, and it was so amazing how much love was shown to me,” said CJ Small, Mobile City Councilmember.
Small was visiting Johannesburg for a funeral director and mortician conference.
“Unfortunately, the tour bus we had taken was an unofficial tour bus that we did not know at that time. But this can happen anywhere, it can happen in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, it can even happen in Mobile,”
He tells us he can only give limited details because of an investigation.
But he knew he had been hit when one of the gunmen trying to rob his bus opened fire.
“It happened within seconds, and when it happened I did feel it in my face everything, and I just prayed, and the Lord said I got you,” said Small.
That bullet went through his cheek and this Monday you can see his left side is a little swollen.
Small spent nearly two weeks recovering in a South African hospital. During that time, he thought about how to improve public safety at home.
“Crime is everywhere, we got to put more into our first responders, we got to put more into our public safety where we can guard the safety of our citizens because the area of Cleveland in South Africa is known not to have police protection so heavy.”
After everything small went through he says, he’s looking at the bright side of his ordeal.
“This is opportunity, this hear give me the vision that we need to invest into our kids, the young guys that had robbed and hijacked us were young. Because kids don’t have role models today and that’s the reason I sacrificed to come here.”
Small says it’ll take about 6 to 8 weeks to heal fully from his injury.
Around noon, he’s planning to be at Gilliard Elementary School in Mobile to meet students taking part of a summer program. We’ll be there and have more for you coming up later today.
The spokesperson also told News 5 that he won’t be able to say much about what happened because authorities are still investigating.