Friends and supporters of Jason Statts — a Savannah resident shot in Ardsley Park a decade ago — gathered today for the annual Statts Fest.
In typical Statts fashion, the Rail Pub featured live music and a silent auction. Dozens arrived early Saturday night to support Statts who is permanently bound to his wheelchair.
In 2009, Statts came face to face with the man who shot him near his friend’s Ardsley Park home. Statts and his friend David Williams were walking home from a concert when they were both mugged and shot in the neck.
It took the jury just two and a half hours to find Desmond Antonio Hunter guilty for the shooting. Hunter was sentenced to life in prison.
Hunter has twenty more years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
Saturday night, it was about moving forward.
Friends of Statts throw a party every year. This year, it’s in downtown Savannah for hours of alternative-rock and county music.
The organization is also selling tee-shirts. Proceeds cover Statts’ medical expenses. He needs help with basic tasks.
David Williams — the other victim shot that night — is grateful Statts is okay. He’s known and loved his friend for years.
“Jason has always been the best of us. There is not a person you meet who won’t tell you that Jason is the nicest, most caring, most giving person that you’ll ever meet. So for us to do this for him, it’s what we should do, because he would do this for us,” said Williams.
“It could happen to anybody, it’s just a tragic accident, but I think us rallying together, throwing a big party for him once a year really lifts his spirits,” said Emily Doherty — a board member.
The party continues Saturday night at 8 p.m. at The Jinx. It is $20 per person.
The event will feature local metal bands.