Edwards adapting to life after shooting

By Julian Routh and Brittney Edwards | The Duquesne Duke

Nearly three months after his father opened fire on his family, fourth-year pharmacy major Jimmy Edwards plans to return to Duquesne next semester.

Edwards, 21, said he is “feeling great” other than pain in his left ring finger, and is excited to get back on campus.

“I want to see all my friends, and believe it or not, actually get back to studying,” Edwards said. “You kind of miss it after a while.”

Edwards has a meeting on Nov. 18 with pharmacy Dean J. Douglas Bricker to discuss his return to the school. He wants to return next semester, but could wait until next fall. According to Edwards, the administration told him his spot is being held. Bricker said the school is “giving him the opportunity to get ready and heal.”

“We’re excited about his being able to come back on campus when he’s healthy and ready,” Bricker said. “We look forward to that.”

Since the shooting, Edwards has received an array of support from the Duquesne community. The Pharmacy Class of 2016 held a benefit dinner on Oct. 22 and raised $4,000 for the Edwards Family Fund at First Commonwealth Bank.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Edwards. Sadie, an 8-week-old beagle, lays in her bed in fourth-year pharmacy major Jimmy Edwards’ home in Shaler. The family’s last dog was killed when Edwards’ father opened fire in the home in August. Edwards said Sadie is a “ball of energy.”

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Edwards. Sadie, an 8-week-old beagle, lays in her bed in fourth-year pharmacy major Jimmy Edwards’ home in Shaler. The family’s last dog was killed when Edwards’ father opened fire in the home in August. Edwards said Sadie is a “ball of energy.”

“I went to Duquesne thinking I was a number…but it’s a family,” Edwards said. “It’s really nice to see everybody doing what they could do.”

Edwards has also received support from the residents of Shaler Township. The community held a spaghetti dinner at the Cherry City Fire Hall on Nov. 9 to benefit his family. A spaghetti dinner benefit was also organized on Oct. 13 at St. Bonaventure Church in Shaler in memory of his sister, Laurin, who was killed in the shooting.

His mother, Charlene, who was shot in the attack, is “back to normal health,” according to Edwards. She plans to return to work on Nov. 19.

Edwards said his mom has been the most supportive and inspiring person throughout the last few months.

“She’s the only thing I really have family-wise left and seeing her get through this just as well as I have really helps me push to get through the tough time and to move onto the next chapter of my life,” Edwards said.

Edwards also plans to return to his internship next week at the Rite-Aid in Duncan Manor, where he does pharmacy work. The store has told him they will keep his job open for him until he is ready to return.

When he is on campus, Edwards enjoys playing recreational sports. Last week, he played deck hockey with his friends.

“I miss just hanging out with friends,” Edwards said. “The people I’ve met down there, they continue to see me and check on me all the time. I just really miss seeing them and talking to them every day.”

Edwards said the Rev. Dan Walsh was “a very great help.” Walsh visited Edwards at the hospital days after the incident and continued to send prayers.

“We need to get him back among his friends and back to the normal – the community here at Duquesne who embraces him and his mother,” Walsh said. “There is a lot that can be gained by being with your friends. All too often we don’t realize support we have, but when tragedy visits, support comes from so many places.”

The shooting occurred on Aug. 22 in the Edwards family home on Winterset Drive in Shaler, when Edwards’ father, James, went room-to-room with two .44-caliber revolvers and attempted to systematically kill his family before turning the gun on himself, according to police.

Edwards’ father, his 19-year-old sister Laurin and the family dog died at the scene. Edwards and his mother were taken to Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side.

Reflecting on his sister’s life, Edwards said if he could talk to her now, he would tell her to “watch out for me.”

“I always used to watch out for her,” he said.

Edwards said he and his mother recently adopted an 8-week-old beagle named Sadie. She was one of eight in a litter from a breeder in Wheeling, W.Va.

“[Sadie is] a ball of energy,” Edwards said. “She keeps me busy every day.”

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