EXCLUSIVE: Driver gunshot victim shares details of near-death incident

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Friday, January 08, 2016

Three weeks after surviving a shooting outside a major sporting venue in California, a veteran truck driver says he agonized in pain while waiting for first responders to arrive and treat him.

Jerry Matson, 72, was shot Dec. 15 as he sat in his truck’s sleeper. Matson, an OOIDA life member, was parked near the O.co Coliseum, home to the Oakland Athletics baseball and Oakland Raider football teams.

Matson is now in stable condition, though he remains in an Oakland, Calif., hospital as he recuperates from the shooting injury and related illnesses.

In an interview with “Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black, Matson recounted the events leading up to the shooting.

The trouble began, he says, when an attendant at O.co Coliseum denied him access to park inside the stadium – something he and other drivers have commonly been able to do while awaiting morning delivery appointments.

“My appointment was at 7.a.m. (the next morning), and I showed up about 8 p.m.,” Matson said. “I was quite early. Usually in a situation like that what they’ll do is pull you back over in a corner (inside the stadium). You go to sleep, and they’ll talk to us in the morning.

“I don’t know why this guy was just, ‘you can’t be inside, you can’t be inside.’ I said, ‘I always park inside.’ He said, ‘no, no, we have a concert going on. You can’t go inside until after the concert.’ Despite the concert, there was someplace I could have parked inside. There were parking lots they weren’t even using.”

The guard sent him to the other side of the stadium lots near car dealerships, where the attendant said there are “nice, well-lit, wide streets,” Jerry remembers.

Jerry drove his 2012 International ProStar to the street where he encountered another problem.

“I went over there to park and I realized there’s ‘no parking’ signs everywhere,” he said. “I know what that means in California. It means no parking.”

Jerry drove a little further and found a small public park. A uniformed law enforcement officer was around, so he parked and walked up to her and asked whether he could park in the area legally. The officer directed him to back into a spot adjacent to the park.

Asked whether the spot was well-lit, Jerry said he was most interested in not blocking traffic that seemed to be coming from three different directions.

“There was so much chaos around there,” Jerry told “Land Line Now.”

Not long after he got settled and went to sleep in his bunker, he awoke to the truck rocking.

“I actually thought someone ran into my truck,” Jerry said. “The truck was rocking like crazy. It was banging and clattering.”

Jerry’s driver’s side window came crashing in. He took action with the only weapon he had – his voice.

“I said, ‘You’re not gonna shoot me for nothing.’ So I jumped up and started screaming.”

A hand reached into the window and pulled the trigger of a .45 caliber pistol – firing a bullet into Jerry’s stomach near his belly button.

The man who fired the weapon ran off and remains at large.

Jerry, fighting the shock of the moment and pain, grabbed his cellphone.

“I put my phone in a safe place every night so I know where it’s at, so I’m not waking up groggy looking for it,” he said. “The pain was just absolutely excruciating. Unbelievable. But I managed to get myself into a position and called 911.”

First responders didn’t rush right into his truck, Jerry said.

“The EMTs were afraid to get into the truck with me,” he said. “You could smell the gunshot residue. And some guy is in the back of the truck hollering, ‘get me out of here.’”

While his family has advocated for truck drivers to be able to be legally armed so they can protect themselves, Jerry said he’s always felt drivers have been forced to park in unsafe areas.

“Truck parking is an extreme issue right now,” Jerry said. “No, I’ve always felt we were forced to park in bad areas of town. Areas that are rough on tires, people will steal fuel.”

Asked whether he’d be back behind the wheel of his rig, Jerry seemed unsure.

“I’m probably gonna hang up my spurs,” he said, with a laugh. “I’m 72 now. I’ll be at least 73 until I’m in any kind of shape. Who knows what will happen.”

“Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black contributed to this report.

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