KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A neighbor caught in the crossfire between a band of robbers and a homeowner defending himself says he's grateful to be alive.
Curtis Washington says he was not the intended target, but forced to serve as a human shield for some gang-banging thugs. Washington was shot four times Friday during a home invasion and attempted robbery in the Ruskin Heights neighborhood.
Witnesses said Washington was taking out his trash Friday morning, when two men approached him. One pointed a gun and forced Washington to go with the robbers to his next-door neighbor's home.
Washington said when his neighbor opened the door and saw he was with a band of ruffians, the homeowner grabbed his gun and started firing to defend himself. The thugs shot back and Washington, who had been pushed inside his neighbor's house by the hoodlums, said he was caught in the exchange of gunfire between the two.
"It was more or less my neighbor responding to it," Washington said. "I am not sure who shot me. You know what I'm saying, all I know is I got hit four times. I just think it was something that was God given. God had all of our backs."
Washington suffered two gunshots to his right knee and one to his right arm. And as he was running out of the house, Washington said a final shot hit him in his upper back.
Luckily, all of the bullets passed through his body, and none hit any vital organs or arteries.
Washington said his neighbor visited him in the hospital and expressed remorse, saying that he may have inadvertently caused some of the man's injuries.
"I don't know that he had any intentions of hurting me," Washington said. "He did not know that I was still in the house, but they made me come in, after he opened the door for me."
Police pursued the robbers in a high-speed chase that ended with four men taken into custody. They all face charges of attempted robbery, burglary, kidnapping and armed criminal action. Federal records show Marlyn Standifer, one of the men charged, had just been released from prison earlier this month on a weapons conviction.
Washington told FOX 4 News he's grateful for neighbors and paramedics that came to his aid. He works as an auto mechanic, but says he doesn't have much feeling in the fingers of his right hand because of one of the bullet wounds. He said it will be some time before he can work on cars again.