Ex Ambulance Chief Shot in Kosovo

Valon Shoshi is recovering from a gunshot wound he suffered on Nov. 27 in his native Kosovo.

       Valon Shoshi, a former assistant chief of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, who has been living for the past year in his native Kosovo, is used to helping get seriously injured people to the hospital.

       On Nov. 27, he had to make sure he got there safely himself after being shot in the abdomen by a pair of assailants he said he did not recognize.

       Mr. Shoshi, 28, said in an e-mail that he had started his day at a hotel restaurant, where he typically met friends for coffee and took care of some phone calls. Later, he visited another cafe with friends for most of the afternoon.

       Mr. Shoshi, who runs a Play Station arcade where customers come to play the popular video gaming systems, said he left downtown Peja, Kosovo’s third largest city, at about 5:30 p.m. to stop at his house to pick up a coat before meeting friends for dinner.

       As he arrived home at about 6:15, he said there had been a power outage, leaving the street blanketed in darkness. He parked his car and was going to open his driveway gates when two men approached.

       “I saw them coming,” he said. “One went past me, and the second guy put his hand on my belly and the next thing I knew a shot went off.”

       Mr. Shoshi said the pair, who were both wearing hoodies to conceal their faces, took off running and he instinctively sought cover behind his car for a moment before he noticed that his T-shirt under his sweater was wet.

       “I didn’t feel any pain,” he said. “I felt a little wetness and I thought, oh no! I had on a white T-shirt and it was all bloody.”

       Mr. Shoshi jumped into his BMW to drive himself to the hospital, calling his cousin and a friend, telling them that he had been shot. About halfway to the hospital, he said, he began to feel the pain from his wound. “My car is manual, and I started having trouble using my left leg to press down on the clutch,” he said.

       At the hospital, doctors told Mr. Shoshi that the 6-millimeter bullet had entered near his navel and exited above his left pelvic bone, just missing his femoral artery. Mr. Shoshi said he had turned as the shooter pressed the gun into him, thinking it may have been a friend playing a practical joke, and that may have saved his life because the bullet cut a shallow path across the front of his abdomen instead of going right through him.

       The hospital had a police guard stationed outside Mr. Shoshi’s room during the two and a half days he was a patient.

       Medical care in that country leaves a lot to be desired, he said, explaining that doctors cleaned his wound twice without anesthetics or pain medication. “That was the most pain I’ve ever felt,” said the former Golden Gloves boxer. “We have more supplies in our local ambulances than they have in the hospital.”

       Mr. Shoshi said he was at a loss to explain why he was attacked. “I don’t have any problems with anybody here,” he said. “It’s crazy. I was in disbelief. Why me?”

       He did say that Peja and the surrounding area, which have a population of about 95,000, have Kosovo’s highest crime rate.

       Mr. Shoshi came to the United States with the rest of his family in 1999 when he was 13 during the Kosovo War between that country’s ethnic Albanian population and the former Yugoslavia. He said he returned to Kosovo to be with his fiancée and open his business.

       Now, he is in hiding and planning to return to the United States later this month. This week, he said, he locked up his business for good.

       Tony Shoshi described his younger brother as “the most generous guy I know. I’m surprised and shocked. I want to get him back to East Hampton as soon as possible.”

       The same goes for Mary Ellen McGuire, the ambulance association chief. “He was my assistant chief for three years,” she said. “We just want him well. Everyone will welcome him back with open arms. He does not have an enemy here. We’ll be thrilled to have him back.”

Before returning to Kosovo, Valon Shoshi was assistant chief of the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association.