ORANGE (CBSLA) — Adam Crossen, the Orange swim coach who chased a man who was breaking into his car before being shot, spoke out Thursday night about his ordeal.
He says he has no regrets.
“I remember squeezing my wife’s hand. My mom and my dad had come out,” Crossen said. “I was scared. And I was glad they were there. This is hard.”
It’s anything but easy for Crossen to tell his story — he could have been a sad statistic. He’s hoping by telling his story he will get justice.
“I hope they catch him,” Crossen said.
The popular swim coach is talking about a man who was breaking into his car outside his home. It was the early morning about a month ago that changed everything.
“I’m like, ‘What the heck? Someone’s in my car’,” Crossen said.
The 42-year-old father of three was on his way to coach swim practice in Irvine. It was about 4 in the morning when he saw the man stealing items from his car.
He decided to chase the man off.
“I wasn’t sure what I would have done had I caught him but that wasn’t on my mind when I first started chasing him,” Crossen says.
He chased the suspect he says for several blocks.
“He’s screaming at me don’t catch me don’t hurt me. And I’m screaming I’m gonna get you. I’m trying to be loud thinking if the neighbor wakes up they’ll call the police,” Crossen said.
Instead, Crossen lost the guy in the dark. Suddenly, headlights flashed in front of him. The suspect was behind the wheel.
“There’s a gun pointing at me,” Crossen says.
The suspect shot him in the chest — inches from his heart.
“I never envisioned he had a gun he was gonna shoot it,” Crossen said.
The shooter raced out of the neighborhood and Crossen crawled to a neighbor’s door screaming for help.
“I could hear my lung collapsing,” he recalls.
As neighbors called for help, Crossen wanted them to deliver a message. He was rushed to the hospital with a fractured scapula, shattered rib, a dislocated shoulder and collapsed lung.
He’s had several surgeries.
“I feel blessed and fortunate that I’m gonna be okay,” he said.
He says with the support of his community he will recover. Crossen plans to start coaching again next month.
Crossen said he’ll return to his life with no regrets.
“I would not have done anything different,” he said. “I think there’s a certain value to protecting ones property. To send a message, like, look man, you can’t do that.”
The shooter is still at large. If you recognize the man, Orange Police would like to hear from you.