DC
07/22/2013 02:50 pm ET

Jonathan Etheridge, Drive-By Survivor, On D.C. Gun Violence: 'It Was Just Too Many Shots'

Jason Cherkis

In March, The Huffington Post began talking to teens and adults throughout the U.S. about their experiences with gun violence. This is one person's story. You can read others here.

This spring, HuffPost met with a group of teens and young adults at the Potomac Gardens housing project on Capitol Hill. In one-on-one interviews, they talked about their experiences with gun violence and the culture of guns. The threat was always there -- in school, at their basketball court, at the subway stop.

Jonathan Etheridge, 21, talked about gun violence in Washington, D.C. He told the story of surviving a drive-by shooting.

I know more than 10 people that have died as a victim of gun violence. I think about all of them. I just think about them quite often. I try not to keep reflecting on bad stuff. But when I do reflect I think about the good stuff, the good qualities of the person. It’s nothing I can really do about it.

It shaped me as form of motivation to want to do better, to do better and to remove myself from certain situations and certain people.

I had been shot at several times. About three years ago, pretty much wrong place wrong time.

It was night time. I was in Northeast -- I don’t even remember where I was at -- and pretty much I was around a neighborhood of some friends. I don’t really know what happened. I just know as a result I was getting shot at. And it wasn’t a funny feeling.

At that time, it was no longer just fun and games. It was a drive-by.

I was actually walking on a main street to the subway station by myself. I was dressed as a Muslim as I am now. All the sudden I just hear a car turn the corner, very sharp, and before I could even blink an eye I just know gunshots were being fired, multiple gunshots were being fired.

I ducked under cars to protect myself from getting hit. The cars on the streets served as a shield. I didn’t get hit at all. It was just too many shots. At the time, I really wasn’t trying to count the gunshots being fired.

I remember exactly what I said when I dove under the cars. "Allah, please do not take me tonight."

I continued my path after seeing that everything was clear and copacetic and I went home. I got on the train and then the bus. It was one stop and then I caught the bus all the way home. It was about a 30, 35 minute bus ride.

Flashbacks of it pop in my head. Me being back under the car and cars being my shield. I feel like it’s a situation that is beyond my control.

I didn't own a gun at the time.

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