When a neighbor broke into Patricia Buckworth's apartment and immediately began shooting, her 19-year-old son Rodrick had little time to react — but what he managed to do probably saved his mother's life.
Buckworth, 40, said Rodrick — who had just come home from Wesley College in Dover, Delaware, where he's studying criminal justice — pushed a dresser in front of the door and then leaped in front of his mother to shield her from the gunfire.
Rodrick Buckworth, left, with his mother, Patricia. (Image source: Facebook)
Rodrick was hit once and his mother twice in the Tuesday evening attack, according to WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, adding that both are in stable condition at a nearby hospital — although officials say one bullet was about a centimeter away from one of the teen's major arteries.
Police said after 41-year-old Jason Brunson stopped shooting, Buckworth and her son ran from her unit at the Foxwood Apartment Complex in Pike Creek, Delaware, about 15 miles west of Wilmington, and alerted a UPS driver. While police were en route to the scene, Brunson fatally shot himself, investigators said.
Buckworth, speaking to WCAU from her hospital room, said she never had interactions with the suspect and didn't know why he targeted her and Rodrick. Other neighbors told the station they never knew the suspect, although records show he had lived in the complex for several years.
Rodrick also sings under the name "El Rod" at community events, trying to spread the message of respect and non-violence, according to Delaware Online, adding that he came in third place in the 2010 Delaware Teen Idol contest. "I don't even know a more noble young man," Dba L. Burner, a local music promoter, told Delaware Online.
"Any time that we needed him he was there," Frank Hawkins, director of Education and Outreach at AIDS Delaware and a founding member of Delaware Teen Idol, told Delaware Online. Rodrick is expected to perform at the 10th anniversary show in August. "Hopefully he will," Hawkins added.
"People kind of get the misconception that any time a young person is involved in a shooting of some sort that they have to be doing something negative," Hawkins added to Delaware Online. "I just thought it was my duty for people to know about El Rod's character.
"I really don't put my stamp of approval on many things, but he was one person I needed people to know 'Not him.' "
In the parking lot outside the shooting scene, a friend of the Buckworths who identified herself as Kim told WCAU that “God had his hands in this for sure.
"(Rodrick) saved his mother’s life. He’s a hero. There’s nothing like the love of a mother and son. It’s unbelievable.”
(H/T: New York Daily News)