It was a bad day at the office. That’s how Kevin Farley sums up May 21 — the day he was shot chasing three pursesnatching suspects at the Wal-Mart on East Platte Avenue.
Farley, 31, a support manager at the store, almost died. Dr. Jeffrey Clemens, trauma surgeon at Memorial Hospital, said Farley’s survival was iffy the first 24 hours after the shooting. The bullet damaged Farley’s colon and small intestine. He lost a lot of blood. “It has been tooth and nail the whole way, one thing after another,” Clemens said. Six weeks and five surgeries after the shooting, a highlight of his day Tuesday was a cup of grape-flavored shaved ice brought by his fiancee, Cassie Smith. “The recovery has been rough,” Smith said. “When I saw him the night he got shot, I’ve been to funerals where people in caskets looked better.” Farley was shot twice as he pursued theft suspects Michael Moehring, 20, Courtney Micci, 19, and Erik Ridenour, 18. Police said another worker saw the three steal a purse from an unattended cart. Ridenour was detained inside the store, and Micci and Moehring ran outside. Farley was shot, allegedly by Moehring, as he went after Micci. Police caught the two four days later. Farley, a six-year Wal-Mart employee, said he was just doing his job, and that he’d do it again. “In a minute,” he said Tuesday. “What’s the odds on getting shot at Wal-Mart in the first place, let alone it happening twice?” Farley was released from the hospital in mid-June for nine days, but he was readmitted because of internal bleeding. He was in fair condition Tuesday in the Intensive Care Unit, and is expected to remain hospitalized for several more weeks. Farley, who lives in Florence, hopes to be back to work in November at Wal-Mart. “Those are my people,” he said. “I miss work. I’m not really one to sit around on my butt. I love my job.” He started as a stocker at the Platte store, where he met his fiancee, and worked his way up to an hourly managerial position. He said he likes the variety of the job, which ranges from pushing carts to snaring theft suspects. “I’ve caught people stuffing steaks down their pants and stealing lip gloss. Usually they know they’re busted and they just want to hand it over and pay for it right now. It’s part of the whole ‘I’m sorry’ song,” he said. He said he was told by Wal-Mart officials not to discuss the shooting. He didn’t know the suspect was armed until he saw a flash and felt pain. “The first bullet went into my hip. It is still in there. The second one bounced around and left four holes in my intestines and caused me a lot of problems,” he said. “It was scary. There was a lot of blood. That’s what I remember most. It burned, burned, burned — like a hot piece of metal, like somebody stuck a hot knife in me.” Another bullet whizzed by his head. He called the suspects “punks.” As for Moehring, who is charged with attempted first-degree murder and theft, Farley said, “I hope he gets everything that he is allowable by law to get. He tried to take my life.” Farley said his medical bills so far have been fully covered. Marty Heires, Wal-Mart corporate spokesman, said Farley receives workers’ compensation and that the local store held cookouts, raffles and other fundraisers to help with bills. He said a fund was established in Farley’s name at Academy Bank. Workers also held a blood drive at Memorial. “The community has really gotten involved,” Farley said. “I got tons of get-well cards and flowers. Even Target sent me flowers.”