Five days after thugs shot him near the Buffalo State College campus, 18-year-old Jabril Muhammad was out of the hospital and back in classes.
His family is thankful, not just because the young man is back at school, but because he's still alive.
"I'm proud of my son. He's not going to leave Buffalo State. He loves the school, and he wants to finish what he's started there," Larry Muhammad, of Cheektowaga, told The Buffalo News on Wednesday afternoon.
Jabril Muhammad got a cruel and brutal welcome to college life when a gang of thugs beat, stomped and robbed him and two fellow students of their wallets and cellphones late Friday night. The vicious attack took place at Grant Street and Potomac Avenue, a few blocks from the college, after the three victims had gone out for a late-night snack.
That wasn't the worst of it. When the three Buffalo State students broke free from their attackers and began to run away, one of the thugs shot at them with a handgun, police said.
Muhammad, a member of the Buffalo State cross country team, was the only one hit by gunfire. A single shot shattered a bone in his left forearm.
"My son was running away from these guys, and they were trying to shoot him in the back. That's the part of all this that I just can't get out of my head," Larry Muhammad said.
"You already got his cellphone and his wallet, and he's running away, and you're trying to kill him? The outcome of all this could have been a lot worse. You could have had three dead kids on the street."
He said one of the students who were shot at told him that the shooter was no more than 10 feet away from the victims when he began firing. Police believe that at least five shots were fired.
Buffalo police are investigating the shooting, as well as the robbery of two young women - at least one of whom was a Buffalo State student - that occurred a few blocks away from the Muhammad shooting, city spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said.
The incidents prompted Buffalo State police to issue a weekend security alert to all students and staff members.
Jabril Muhammad's family is hoping that police will do everything they can to solve the crime - not just for their benefit, but for other college students who could be preyed upon by the same attackers.
"Saturday night, I just felt the need to take a ride over there to the neighborhood where [the shooting] happened," Larry Muhammad said. "I did see a lot of Buffalo police officers over there, some on foot and some in cars. It made me hope they are turning over every rock to find these guys."
He said he also hopes police are checking to see whether security cameras in the neighborhood picked up any of the attack.
All three of the young men who were robbed and beaten considered leaving Buffalo State after the attack, according to Larry Muhammad. "One of the boys lives on Long Island, and his parents were going to take him out of school," he said. "Then, they heard that Jabril is going to stay at Buff State, and they all decided that, if Jabril could go back there, they would go back there, too."
Jabril Muhammad is a graduate of Leonardo da Vinci High School, where he also participated on the cross country team. Larry Muhammad said that his son's wound will sideline him for the rest of this year's cross country season at Buffalo State but that he plans to return to the team next year. He is a biology major.
"He's a very good person. He's never been in any kind of trouble with the law, or drugs or alcohol," Larry Muhammad said.
The Muhammads live in Cheektowaga and have four other children. Larry Muhammad is a longtime employee of the state Department of Transportation, and his wife, Karen, is a teacher.
"One of the things my wife and I kind of joked about is that we're glad our son is so active in cross country," Muhammad said.
"His running may have saved his life."