Nearly two years later, Zakaria Ibrahim still cannot walk alone.
The owner of the Z-mart on North Highland Avenue, Ibrahim still spends most days lying in a hospital bed in his home, after being shot in the stomach during a July 3, 2006, armed robbery of his convenience store.
Ibrahim was shot about 11:15 p.m. that July night when two robbers entered the store, at the corner of Wilkerson Street and North Highland Avenue. After shooting Ibrahim, at least one of the men kicked him several times.
The shooting forced doctors to remove three-quarters of Ibrahim's pancreas and about half of his stomach. In all Ibrahim underwent six surgeries within the first few months of the shooting.
Nearly two years later, the surgeries continue.
On Feb. 5, Ibrahim underwent abdominal surgery to repair an extensive hernia and a protruding stomach. It took 46 staples to close the incision that runs from the base of his neck to the top of his waist line.
On a good day, Ibrahim will cling to his brother's arm, and with a cane filling his other hand, slowly walk the dead end street of his neighborhood.
But nearly two years later, "Zak" still has many days when he struggles to find enough energy to even sit up on his in-home hospital bed.
"Sometimes I wake up, and I am not able to do anything, even watch television," said Ibrahim on a recent Sunday, struggling to find his breath.
But it is the good days that keep him believing.
On one such day, his brother walked with him through Wal-Mart.
After nearly two years of seclusion, people still remembered the man who many call "Zaky," stopping him and saying how elated they were to see him walking.
"I know that love and kindness in this world exists, but not of this size," said Ibrahim, shaking a slender finger.
It is the support of his doctors, an attorney, a victim's advocate, friends and the entire community that tells Ibrahim he is not the victim.
"Whoever did this to me, I feel sorry for him," he said, beginning to laugh, "because I know he is living like a rat. That someday they will catch him, and me, I am living in love." . . .
Nearly two years later, the bullet that put Ibrahim in a coma that July remains lodged in his kidney. Police still struggle to find the men who attacked Ibrahim, and no one has come forward as a witness.
Yet Zakaria Ibrahim talks only of love. He wants to start JCM, the Jewish-Christian-Muslim society, when he is healed.
"Not to talk about religion," Amal Ibrahim said, "but to talk about how to help people.'' (MORE)