Aaryn Smiley Tells Dad Rickey Smiley How She Survived Being Shot Multiple Times

Aaryn Smiley detailed her recent experience surviving multiple gunshots in a Thursday interview on her father Rickey Smiley's morning radio show.

The elder Smiley first shared news that his daughter had been shot in Houston on July 5, in a video shared on YouTube on Monday. In her appearance on the radio program, the younger Smiley explained what happened, saying that she had been on her way to WhatABurger with her boyfriend, and they were coming from an AirBnb after celebrating her 19th birthday. The teen said that while waiting to turn in the left lane of a three-lane street, a car pulled into the right lane and began firing at someone in the middle lane.

Aaryn Smiley said she thought that the shooter was actually setting off fireworks, because it was the day after the Fourth of July. "When they got out the car, I didn't register like they're about to shoot people, you know? I thought like, 'Oh, these are just some dumb kids that are about to, like, place fireworks on the ground,'" she said. "I thought when it went through the car that I just got burned. It was just hot, and it was quick."

The 19-year-old said that she didn't realize that she'd been hit in the leg until her boyfriend asked why she wasn't reacting. Smiley said she was "blessed" that there was a hospital nearby. She said that she blacked out when he carried her in, and woke up on a table. In a tweet on Monday, Smiley revealed that she had been hit four times.

Smiley said that she lost five pints of blood and had to receive a transfusion. Smiley's mother, who also appeared on the broadcast, said, "It was the scariest thing ever."

Because he hosts a morning radio show, comedian Rickey Smiley was asleep at the time the shooting occurred and didn't see the text from Aaryn Smiley's mother until the next morning, during his radio show. Rickey Smiley told Newsweek on Thursday that he wasn't able to get a flight to Houston until the afternoon. He said due to the coronavirus, family members were not able to visit with his daughter except when she was getting transferred to another hospital.

Despite being "shocked," Smiley said that once he heard from his daughter, he felt more at ease. "The first order of business was just making sure she was okay. Once I realized that she's alive, and once she sent a text message, I knew that she was going to be okay," he told Newsweek. "I was okay after that."

In a tweet on Thursday, Aaryn Smiley shared a photo of the seat she was sitting in when the shooting occurred, and wrote that she was "happy to be alive."

Also having been a victim of a gunshot wound himself, Rickey Smiley said that it was difficult to see his daughter experience something so traumatic, but that talking about it is therapeutic. He said he also expects that the aftereffects will stay with her for some time. "It was really hard just watching her go through that every time, because she gets emotional every time she has to relive it, every time she talks about it, but it's also at the same time good for her to talk about it, not to hold it in. It's therapy for her," he said. "Something like that, even after the wound heals—the gunshot wound heals—it's a mental thing. Any time she hears fireworks or something falls to the floor or anything with a pop to it or whatever—she heard fireworks last night in the hospital and had pretty much panic and was crying."

Before getting off the phone with her father on Thursday's radio show, Aaryn Smiley said that God was protecting her from losing her life and keeping a bullet from striking her head.

At the end of the segment, Rickey Smiley joked that she had "street cred," like her father. "You got your street credit now," he joked. "Aaryn, you're over here with your dad. You like yo daddy, huh?" She laughed, seemingly keeping in good spirits.

Smiley told Newsweek that humor helps to get through tough times. "I have to find some spots when it's appropriate to lighten it up all the time, because you just don't want it to be serious and sad all the time. That's our job as comedians," he said. "What's sad is: a family of five, two of us have fallen victims to gunshots ... We're just lucky to have her and able to at least laugh, because a lot of people are not laughing. There are people that did not survive, that have succumbed to their gunshots over Fourth of July weekend."

According to The Guardian, about 160 people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the U.S. over the Fourth of July weekend, as a result of gun violence.

Smiley said that his daughter should be released from the hospital later this evening. He also extended his thanks to everyone who helped while he was in Houston.

"We're just grateful and thankful and appreciative to everybody that has stepped up to the plate that tried to make us feel comfortable while we were there in the city of Houston," he said. "Thankful to know that we have friends and people that really love and care about us."

In a clip shared on Monday, Smiley spoke about what a wonderful person his daughter is and how hurt he was to learn that she was shot. "My daughter didn't deserve to become a gunshot victim, but thank God for protecting her," he wrote in the video's description.

Rickey Smiley
Rickey Smiley hosts the 21st Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at the James L. Knight Center on January 30, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Smiley interviewed his daughter on his radio show on Thursday to talk about her experience surviving a shooting over the weekend. Getty/Johnny Louis
Aaryn Smiley Tells Dad Rickey Smiley How She Survived Being Shot Multiple Times | Culture