‘He became my child:’ Woman helped bus stop shooting victim until first responders arrived

She saw the bloody child running to her and knew he needed help.
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:19 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 11:35 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville woman who lives down the block from where Wednesday’s Russell school bus stop shooting happened rushed to the aid of one of the teenage victims until first responders arrived on the scene.

Chyla Burks told WAVE 3 News she woke up Wednesday attempting to test her son, Tay Lawson, to see if he could wake up for the bus without her help. Because of it, she dozed off.


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Minutes later, she was woken up by the sound of gunfire.

“I hear two gunshots, and I’m kind of shocked,” Burks said. “And I’m looking around, because around here, when you hear gunshots, especially that early in the morning, the kids are out. The first thing that comes to mind is, ‘Where are my kids?’”

Her two sons were still asleep. They missed the bus.

Burks said she called 911 and ran downstairs to see what happened. She said children were running in all directions, trying to avoid the gunfire.

One of the children, shot in the shoulder, ran to her.

“I see a kid, just a shadow,” Burks said. “And then I see him dart, running straight to me, and he’s like, ‘Ma’am, ma’am can you help me, can you help me? I’ve been shot.’ And my eyes — I didn’t see him as just a normal kid. He became my child. That’s how I seen this boy; he became my child in that instant.”

Burks told WAVE 3 News she went back upstairs to grab rags and used them to stop the bleeding. The boy’s family and emergency personnel quickly arrived on her porch and the boy was taken to the hospital.

He is expected to survive.

Still, Burks said she was left thinking about what could’ve happened to her son if he had woken up on time.

“Everything just calmed down, but at the same time, I’m just thinking, like, ‘At any given moment or any other day, my child would’ve been out here,’” Burks said.

Thursday, Burks is still trying to organize her thoughts and process what happened 24 hours before.

In addition to thinking about the scene that unfolded before her eyes, Burks said she worries about her neighborhood, which she sees as becoming more dangerous by the day.

“It looks beautiful,” Burks said. “This looks like a peaceful neighborhood to live in, but it’s really not. It’s not fair, and our kids are suffering because of this particular reason.”

Burks said she is also thinking about the boy who came running to her for help.

“If somebody needs my help, I’m going to be there, I can’t help it,” Burks said. “That’s a child. There will never be a day that in my heart that — I don’t care if this child just did something to me the day before, there will never be a day that I will not tell this child you can still come to me for help. Can’t do it.”

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