George Webb shooting victim speaks out: 'Lucky to be alive'

Anthony Rodriguez points to his right side of his mouth and makes a motion with his index finger.

"It pretty much knocked out all of my right teeth" he said, describing the bullet that is still lodged somewhere in the back of his neck.

Rodriguez was beaten and shot shortly after midnight while working at the George Webb restaurant near 122nd and North Avenue in Wauwatosa on Jan. 30.

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Two women, 20-year-old sisters Bryanna and Breanta Johnson, are in jail – both charged with two counts of intentional homicide.

Rodriguez, 26, is recovering at his mother’s Milwaukee home. He wears a brace to keep his head from moving too much. He’s in pain but pleased with how well he’s recovering.

Anthony Rodriguez

"The healing I’ve done so far has been incredible. Just a week ago, I couldn’t even speak," said Rodriguez. His goal now is to get strong enough to hold his son, who turns 3 years old in March.

Rodriguez wasn’t even supposed to be working that night. He got called in to work the third shift that night. He explained he was the only waiter on duty, and the restaurant, which is open 24 hours, was busy.

Four women occupied two small tables.  Rodriguez said there was some sort of confusion over their order. They said they ordered another hamburger, he doesn’t remember. The confusion soon led to chaos and gunfire.

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"They said they weren’t going to pay, and I said, ‘OK, I’m going to take your food since you’re not paying for it,'" he said, "so I took it and threw it away."

Rodriguez then asked the rest of the group to leave, and he said they became angry.  Minutes later, things turned violent.

"I was getting punched in the head by one of (them)…and then they tried to body slam me, and as soon as I got slammed on the ground, I heard a bang," he said. "That’s when I got shot."

Bryanna Johnson, Breanta Johnson

A criminal complaint alleges they then kicked and stomped on Rodriguez before leaving.

"It scares the hell out of me how people can get so quick to anger. You never know what people are willing to do for just the smallest things," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez knows this all could have ended even more tragically. He’s hopeful he can get back "close" to normal, but doesn’t know if he’ll get a full recovery. Still, he’s grateful for the support from friends, family and strangers. A GoFundMe page has been set up for his recovery expenses.

Anthony Rodriguez with son

The 26-year-old said he’s also very pleased with the support he’s received from George Webb management.

"I’m just lucky to be alive, and I’m so grateful I can move around and see my family. It gives me a fresh perspective," Rodriguez said.

He’s also hopeful that people can learn to take a step back before resorting to violence to solve problems: "We’ve got to find ways to compromise and be more peaceful and sometimes that means just saying ‘I got to walk away.'"

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