Man's life changed by heroic act

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Heroes don't always ride off into the sunset.

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Wayne Eggins Jr., 24, grimaces in pain after a yawn. Eggins' girlfriend, Monique Johnson-Sullivan, 20, has become his caretaker. The couple moved into a one-story apartment to better accommodate his wheelchair, and their baby is due in September.    Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Wayne Eggins Jr., 24, grimaces in pain after a yawn. Eggins' girlfriend, Monique Johnson-Sullivan, 20, has become his caretaker. The couple moved into a one-story apartment to better accommodate his wheelchair, and their baby is due in September.

Sometimes their pursuit of justice leaves them broken and bedridden, their future a question mark.

Wayne Eggins Jr. returned home this week from the hospital, more than a month after he was shot interrupting a burglary at Merrick Place apartments in west Augusta.

Doctors didn't expect him to live, much less go home this early -- but it doesn't surprise anyone who knows Eggins well.

"Wayne has always been independent," said his girlfriend, Monique Johnson-Sullivan, on Friday.

Brave, too.

Shortly after midnight Feb. 18, Eggins, 24, returned home from work and spotted someone breaking into his neighbor's apartment. His own home had already been burglarized.

Eggins grabbed the man, punched him and dragged him back toward the front of the apartment. That's when a second man came around, pistol-whipped Eggins and shot him.

"Everything went blank from there," Eggins said.

Johnson-Sullivan, 20, was awakened by the sound of fighting. She hurried down the stairs to see what was going on, but a big bush blocked her view. Johnson-Sullivan went back upstairs and saw the muzzle flash five or six times. She rushed back downstairs and out the door.

Johnson-Sullivan memorized a description of the assailants' car as it left, then ran back inside for her phone. She couldn't find it, so she did the next-best thing: scream.

Neighbors brought outside by the gunfire rushed over to help. A nurse pulled off her shirt and held it under Eggins' head.

Eggins was lying on his stomach, his head held off the ground, mouth open. He was trying to talk, but could only gasp for air.

"There was so much blood," Johnson-Sullivan said. "I was just freaking out."

Someone drove her to the emergency room, where doctors made sure the stress wasn't leading to a miscarriage or early labor. Their baby is due Sept. 11.

From there, she went to the waiting room outside the intensive care unit. Doctors didn't expect Eggins to survive the night.

"Now isn't the time to lose him," Johnson-Sullivan said she thought. "He's all I got."

Both lived at the apartment complex last summer. They met at the pool.

"Hey Wayne," she said, guessing that was his name tattooed on the back of his arms.

She'd never been that forward with a guy before, but she handed him her number.

"Call me sometime," she said.

He did. They met for lunch in her apartment.

Soon after, she moved in with him. Eggins promised her mother he would take care of her. He worked long hours so she could study to become a pharmaceutical technician. Right after Christmas, they found out Johnson-Sullivan was pregnant.

Now Johnson-Sullivan has been thrust in the role of caregiver and provider. She does her best to stay positive, but it's hard sometimes, financially and emotionally.

"We were just like everyone else, living day by day," she said. "You don't prepare for something like this."

They moved into a single-story apartment so Eggins can get around his wheelchair, but she wants to find a house, some transportation. Eggins' uncle is coming from Philadelphia to help.

Eggins is mostly bedridden right now, his left side almost completely paralyzed. Surgery in a few months will replace the piece of plastic that's currently covering his brain.

They don't entertain thoughts about whether it's fair or not.

"Life isn't fair," Eggins said.

Would he do it again, knowing now there was a gun involved?

"I would shoot 'em and deal with the consequences later," Eggins said. "Maybe that sounds ignorant, but I don't have any lives left in me to do this again."

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nofrills
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nofrills 03/26/11 - 06:09 am
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I can't believe the apartment

I can't believe the apartment complex isnt paying his medical. Eggins is a prime example of whats wrong with our world

dougk
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dougk 03/26/11 - 07:42 am
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Exactly how is the apartment
Unpublished

Exactly how is the apartment complex responsible for his injuries?

citizenofusa
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citizenofusa 03/26/11 - 09:06 am
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Has a fund been set up for

Has a fund been set up for this man? Where is the sympathy in this town for someone who was trying to stop a crime in his neighborhood. Will the chronicle try to find out about a fund?

storiesihaveread
358
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storiesihaveread 03/26/11 - 10:07 am
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I agree citizen

I agree citizen

EMS6465
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EMS6465 03/26/11 - 01:00 pm
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It is a shame all this

It is a shame all this happened to such a nice young man. I am hoping that justice prevails in this. And these two thugs get all that is coming to them by the judicial system.

freeradical
1075
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freeradical 03/26/11 - 02:19 pm
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I can't believe that the

I can't believe that the murderous animals, willing to kill for a TV, lap-top

are not yet even beginning to spend a substancial portion of their lives

in jail.

These are not Rhodes Scholars were looking for, and with a good

description of the vehicle to work with it is depressing that the police

don't have them yet.

corgimom
32125
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corgimom 03/26/11 - 01:27 pm
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Life can change in the blink

Life can change in the blink of an eye...

MartinB
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MartinB 03/26/11 - 03:14 pm
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Corgimom, You are absolutley

Corgimom, You are absolutley correct, life can change in the blink of an eye. What happened to this gentleman is very unsettling. To think that the two men responsible for these events remain at large is ridiculous. Nofrills, the apartment complex should not be held accountable for the incident as they had no control over the situation. The two thug, thieving individuals that are responsible should be caught and held accountable for their actions. Citizenofusa, the community should support one another and it would be noble to see people come together and help this father to be and his family during this traumatic time.

Chaparra
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Chaparra 03/29/11 - 08:41 pm
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How Am I Supposed To Act? I

How Am I Supposed To Act?
I don't know how to act right now. I don't know what to think. I am at a loss for words since I found out that my son got shot in the head. Shot in the head shot in the head! I reside in Tucson, Waynes hometown. Medical Collage Hospital did an awesum remarkable job. But now to find out my son was released cuz of No Medical Coverage OMG
I am still in state of shock . I would have have never thought in a thousand years that something like this would happen to my own son!
Wayne Marshall Eggins is my son. he is recovering, thanks to God. It could have been such a different outcome. I could have been grieving the loss of my son. THANK YEW 4 ALL PRAYERS and LOVE!!!! xoxo Frances Stacy P.S. I THANK MY LORD AND SWEET MOTHER JESUS FOR NOT TAKING My WAYNE WAYNE AWAY FROM US! Amen

corgimom
32125
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corgimom 03/26/11 - 05:20 pm
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To Chaparra: Here's the thing

To Chaparra: Here's the thing about brain injuries. There's nothing more the hospital can do for him until his surgery. A brain injury happens; the hospital treats that injury; then they go home and receive outpatient services. He's no longer injured with a wound that needs hospital care; the hospital has fixed the injury, now it just takes time. After a brain injury, a patient can be convalescent for 2 years or more.

My best advice for you is to contact Walton Rehabilitation Hospital here in Augusta and see what they say. Walton Rehab is one of the best in the nation; if you are brain injured, Augusta GA is the best place to be. If they can't help you, they will refer you to someone who can.
He is young and strong, and a whole lot of his recovery, and how much he will regain, is up to him.

He needs to file for Social Security disability, Medicare, and Medicaid, and social services aid. If he is physically or mentally unable to do it, someone will need to get a power of attorney to handle his affairs. Call Legal Aid, they will help you for free.

When the baby is born, and if he is eligible for Social Security benefits, he will receive Social Security benefits for the baby, too.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. My son was brain injured at birth. It's a rough haul, but it can be done.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/27/11 - 12:00 am
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Does anyone know if Wayne

Does anyone know if Wayne Eggins has a facebook page cause i want to be his first fan. What he did was incredibly brave, we should never forget his ferver to protect U.S. from robbers and what it cost him....

Where was the house to house police search for all the unsolved Taxpayer shootings? Where is the $50,000 reward for taxpayer shooters like the shooters that opened fire on each other with one shooting & killing James Gillette? I'm glad Athens got their cop killer & i hate that a WONDERFUL cop’s life was so needlessly ended, but the best way to avoid the next cop killing is to track down these taxpayer shooters & killers with the same fervor we track cop killers.

When ANYONE is shot or killed we should launch the same kind of search of EPIC proportions to show the criminals we are NOT playing.

We could have a text tree to alert everyone when & where real time folks start shooting, to avoid being carjacked, or taken hostage and or shot from the spraying of automatic weapons fire & such. Two guys got shot up so bad on Pine log Rd in Aiken co they jumped into the back seat of their car as it was rolling and still got shot....

TaniaPadilla
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TaniaPadilla 07/06/11 - 05:54 pm
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I am so grateful that the

I am so grateful that the community has taken an interest in Wayne and Monique, my daughter. I appreciate the way that the Chronicle and the local news has kept every one afloat of their situation. I am always praying for them but also giving many praises for all that they have been blessed with, especially each other and the baby to come. With him not being able to go back to work right now and her having to care for him almost 24 hrs a day and being so far along in pregnancy their resources are very limited. We are working on trying to get them a fund set up at a local bank, in the mean time I got them a PO Box for any donations to be sent to: P O Box 211403 Augusta GA 30917. Any and everything is appreciated a million times. Many thanks on thier behalf.

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