Posted at: 06/25/2014 8:48 AM
Updated at: 06/25/2014 5:26 PM
By: Rachel Spotts
Just about a year ago, Gene McDougal of Henrietta was going about his day when he says everything changed. He was hit by a bullet and caught in a crossfire between police and shooting suspect, Ralph Strong Junior.
Police say Strong shot and killed two people outside a nightclub just days before this incident unfolded. In the back and forth, a Rochester Police sergeant was also shot.
Today, McDougal took the stand in Strong's trial.
Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Wolford said, “You could definitely see he was emotional on the stand, remembering the events, but yet his recollection was perfect. He's always told the same story about what happened to him that day and quite frankly, it's amazing that he can remember it the way he does.”
McDougal did not want to speak with us on camera but under direct examination he told jurors the incident affected him more than just physically. He said, "My life has changed. Things are different. It changes you as a person."
The day of the shooting, McDougal says he was driving up North Goodman Street on the way to meet a client for work. He says he saw a car rapidly approaching in his rear view mirror. Short of slamming into him, he says the driver pulled off the road, got out of the car and ran behind a nearby house. McDougal testified that's when police came from all directions.
Wolford said, “Then we hear from Mr. McDougal that he's trying to make his way out of the area when he ends up getting shot through his car door.”
McDougal says it felt like a punch to his stomach. Shortly after he says he saw a police officer down. Wolford said, “Then he pulled out onto Goodman Street and can see the sergeant down in the street. He makes a dive roll and appears to be shooting his firearm after that and then Mr. McDougal tries to make his way to safety.
McDougal was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital where he was treated for his gunshot wound. He says he was in the hospital for a week but says his emotional recovery is still far from over.