Drew Pescaro oral history interview 2, 2020 December 10
In this second of two interviews, Drew Pescaro, one of six victims of the April 30 mass shooting at UNC Charlotte, describes his short and long term recovery after the shooting, and the impacts that the event has had on his life. Mr. Pescaro details his grueling twenty-seven day hospitalization, remarking on the significant support he felt from his family, his church (Elevation Church), his friends and fellow victims, members of the UNC Charlotte community including Chancellor Dubois, Dean of Students Christine Davis, and football coach Will Healey, and prominent sports figures who came to visit him. He describes the contrast between the serious health challenges he faced following his surgery and the joy of meeting his sports idol Tim Tebow of the New York Mets (both remotely and in person), in addition to visits from Charlotte Panthers' players Jonathan Stewart, D.J. Moore, and Chris Hogan, and also from Larry Ogunjobi of the Cleveland Browns. Mr. Pescaro expresses his deep gratitude for support that he and his family received when his hospital bills were unexpectedly fully paid, and when his remaining two years of college were financed by the Charlotte Hornets. He also describes his feelings of survivor guilt as he processed the shooting event emotionally and intellectually and his need to connect and process with others who had also experienced the event. His harrowing experience in the classroom necessitated Mr. Pescaro to relay details of the attack to the media on numerous occasions, a responsibility which he took seriously, but which also left him feeling that he and other victims were abandoned once public interest had moved on. This feeling of disconnect was particularly strong on returning to campus for the fall semester of 2019 and he recalls significant difficulties in adjusting back to campus life. In reflecting on how April 30 has affected his life long term he describes how his initial impetus to use his voice as a platform for change has matured following the perplexing experience of addressing the North Carolina General Assembly to urge the need for open and nonpartisan discussion about violent crimes. On realizing that his intent was misperceived as partisan and that polarization around the issue of gun control was preventing discussion, he decided to turn instead to advocating directly for victims of violent crimes, who face considerable psychological and physical anguish and financial burden through no fault of their own. Mr. Pescaro concludes the interview with reflections on how he would like to see April 30 remembered, but also the realization that the students who experienced the direct effects of the event will soon have all graduated.