A 28-year-old pregnant woman was heroically saved by a stranger who took the bullet for her during the New York City subway shooting last week.
Live Action News reported that Chelsea, whose full name was not disclosed, was onboard the Manhattan-bound subway car that Tuesday morning when Frank James fired his Glock aimlessly on the passengers. The 62-year-old assailant has initially thrown two smoke canisters to conceal his already masked identity. James was wearing a mask and a vest atop a hoodie similar to the station's employee uniform when he launched his attack.
Chelsea, who is pregnant with her second child, felt trapped and very vulnerable at that time. She narrated placing her earphones on her ears in anticipation of arriving at her destination within five minutes. Then she saw James holding the canisters in his hands, which she thought was just a prank. She never expected it would turn out to be what it has become.
"It's an absolute nightmare. It's a scary thing to go through in any kind of circumstance--being pregnant [makes me even] more vulnerable. We're all just trying to get somewhere. No one should have to experience that. The worst part is there's nowhere to run. It's a death trap," Chelsea told the New York Post.
Meanwhile, twelve feet away from Chelsea was another passenger named Hourari Benkada who was "minding his own business" when all the commotion started. Benkada recounted sitting next to James but could not identify him because of the mask he wore. The smoke was already filling the train when Benkada heard a woman's voice in panic.
"'Oh my god I'm pregnant.' That's when I gave her a hug. She said 'I'm pregnant with a baby.' I hugged her and then the bum-rush continued...I was just focused on the pregnant woman and that is when I got struck in the leg. I was just on my way to work," Benkada recounted.
Benkada was shot behind his knee, which he described as the worst pain he ever felt in his life. He was stampeded before he was shot. The bullet grazed his kneecap when it went out the other side. He is currently recovering in a hospital. Doctors said he would be on crutches for several weeks before he could walk once more. He has vowed never to ride the subway again.
During those terrifying moments, Chelsea was thinking about her seven-year-old daughter and prayed to God to allow her to see her again. Chelsea dropped her daughter off at school that morning before she boarded the train. She told God to let her go home and see her baby once more.
Then Benkada came into the scene and assisted her. She recalled everybody was in a panic then a guy she didn't know tried to help her. Local officials thought that Chelsea was also shot because her leg was bloody. They later found out that her leg was trampled because of the chaos. Chelsea said she actually fell down on her knees twice because of the terrible madness and panic that took place during those moments.
Christianity Daily reported that day was marked by tragedy and horror for New Yorkers aboard the New York City subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan. James' attack left at least 29 people injured. An updated report from the New York Post said ten of the 29 injured were shot, whose ages ranged from 15 to 49. These shot victims were mostly men and three women. Four of those reported hurt during the attack were children aged 12 to 18.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams promised to increase the number of law enforcement officers on the subway system due to the incident.