WASHINGTON - The owner of a Jamaican carryout has made a remarkable recovery after being shot four times during a robbery outside her Northwest D.C. business. It was a vicious assault she did not see coming, especially after she fought with the suspect with the suspect and ended up pulling off his mask.
It has been 43 days since "Pinkie" was critically wounded outside her North Capitol Street carryout. She was shot once in each arm and leg on the night of Jan. 25 after fighting with a man she knew well.
Pinkie has been trying to reclaim her life for the last several weeks in the physical therapy room at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital. In the past day or so, she has finally been able to place the full weight of her body on her badly-wounded leg.
Sitting on her bed down the hall, she describes the wound to her right arm.
"On this hand, I got shot right below the wrist," she said. "Because this was so close, it shattered my bone."
On the night of the shooting, Pinkie and two co-workers had just closed the Jam Doung Style Cuisine carryout and were walking to their cars when a man came out of the shadows and announced a stick-up.
"I offered to give him the money," Pinkie recalled. "I said, 'I will give you the money.' But this guy wanted the pocketbook for some reason. He didn't want just the money. He wanted my pocketbook. So we struggled. I didn't know who it was at first."
From a camera mounted on the outside of a funeral home across the street, you can see the struggle take place. Pinkie decided she was going to fight. While screaming for help, she reached for the gunman's mask.
"I said, 'It's you! You robbing me?' I couldn't believe it was him," she said.
She said Chaval Reid was the man with the gun. He was a man she knew well.
"He is a guy that I feed," Pinkie said. "He comes into my store, he doesn't have money and I feed him. I talk to him like a mother. He calls me mom."
But he had no mercy as he shot Pinkie in each arm and leg.
"My body was burning like it was on fire," she described.
Reid is now dead. He was gunned down on Irving Street in Northeast D.C. on Feb. 7. There have been no arrests in connection to his death.
Reflecting 43 days later, Pinkie explained why she decided to fight.
"I work hard," she said. "I get up at seven o'clock in the morning, I go into that restaurant, I do 12, 13 hours every day. I was just not going to give up just like that."
Now it is what she misses most. The aroma of the food she has cooked with love all her life.
"I miss the face of my customers," said Pinkie. "There is just so much that I miss. It's my day."
But getting back to work might have to wait awhile. Those wounds still need to heal.
When Reid was shot and killed, D.C. police said there was already a warrant out for his arrest in the shooting of Pinkie outside the carryout.
In the 17 years the restaurant has been in business, it has been robbed five times.
Pinkie said she wants all her customers to know she misses them and hopes to see them soon.