Rickey Smiley appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday to discuss the impact of gun violence after his daughter, Aaryn Smiley, was shot back in July.
The Atlanta-based comedian and radio host recalled rushing to Houston, where the shooting happened, to be by Aaryn’s side. But because of COVID-19 restrictions, the hospital would not allow visitors.
“I felt really bad for her that she had to be in a hospital by herself and not have a support system,” Smiley said on GMA.
[Watch the interview below]
Aaryn, 19, said the ordeal was terrifying. “It was my first hospitalization, so that by itself is really scary on top of the fact that I couldn’t see my parents,” she explained. “They wouldn’t let anyone visit me, I think that was the worst part.”
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The teenager was going on a fast food run with her boyfriend, when they got caught in the crossfire during a road rage incident on the July 4th weekend. The two had stopped at a red light, when another vehicle pulled up in the right lane and began firing, Aaryn told listeners on her dad’s radio show days after the shooting. She said the gunman was aiming at another car sitting in the middle lane.
She suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and underwent multiple surgeries, just days after celebrating her 19th birthday.
During the GMA interview, Rickey Smiley talked about the trauma of gun violence.
“I just could not imagine, had Aaryn not survived a gunshot. What would that have been like?” he said. “I’m going to have to go to, probably have some therapy sessions, because now I think what I’m dealing with is kind of like a ‘what if,’ because a lot of kids got buried that weekend and we’re just blessed enough that my daughter is still alive.”