MIAMI (WSVN) - A Swedish student who was shot and robbed near a busy Wynwood intersection has been released from the hospital.
Frank Hammar spoke with reporters outside of Jackson Memorial Hospital, Friday evening. The 28-year-old spent more than a week in the hospital after he sustained two gunshot wounds to the abdomen, June 7.
When asked how he was feeling, Hammar replied, “Really good. I’m just super happy to be able to be walking out of here, honestly. That’s, like, a big prize here.”
7News cameras captured Hammar, his right arm around his father, walking to a car, a major milestone on his road to recovery.
Just before the incident, Hammar had been celebrating his college graduation from Miami Ad School with his parents, who had just arrived in town from Sweden, at the trendy Wynwood Diner. When Hammar began walking home, at around 11:30 p.m., two men following the victim from behind approached him about half a block from the restaurant, near the intersection of Northwest Second Avenue and 26th Street.
Grainy surveillance video shows the victim on the sidewalk, looking behind him to see one of the men, seen wearing a hoodie, walking up to him while pointing a gun. Seconds later, a second male, wearing a sleeveless light-colored shirt, joins the other subject.
Speaking to 7News from his hospital bed, June 10, Hammar described what happened next. “I took out my cellphone, put it on the ground. I told them to take it easy,” Hammar said. “The guy tells me he has one bullet in the chamber, pulls out the magazine, puts it back in.”
Hammar said that when he looked at the robbers, he could tell that he had no other options, and they were going to shoot. “You could tell there was nothing I could say, really,” Hammar said. “They were in cold mode, and it didn’t matter, obviously, what kind of money I gave them or not.”
Hammar’s prediction turned out to be correct. “The other guy said something like, ‘Blast him,’ or, ‘Pop him,'” Hammar said. “The guy with the gun fires two bullets. When it happened, I kind of felt like I would die. I kind of felt like I was lucid enough for it to not be mortal wounds or something. It was only when I saw that there was a lot of blood that I thought that I might bleed to death.”
A surveillance camera caught the men running away from the scene.
A group of Hammar’s friends who were also at the diner at around the same time said they saw Hammar lying on the pavement. “I saw him on the floor. I saw the blood,” said a female friend of the victim.
Hammar was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in critical but stable condition.
Doctors said one of the bullets landed close to Hammar’s spine. However, someone called 911, and EMS workers were able to save his life. “He lost a lot of blood on the scene,” said a doctor. “The Miami EMS system is so great, and they were able to rescue him really fast.”
Hammar said that first bullet remains lodged near his spine. The second bullet exited his body through the back.
During his recovery, Hammar said, he fought an infection. “That made everything more difficult, obviously,” he said. “It was tough, but it was bodily stuff, and once again, every single day, I understood better and better how lucky I was that both of the bullets literally missed everything, like, absolutely everything.”
When asked to describe the ordeal, Hammar said it was “overwhelming, really overwhelming in a lot of ways, in a lot of good ways, too.”
“Horrible,” said his mother, Lisa Hammar.
“It wasn’t really the vacation that we were expecting,” said his father, Holdar Hammar.
“It’s been very surreal, unreal,” said his brother, Peter Hammar. “It’s like you just watched a movie.”
Hammar also took the opportunity to praise the staff at Jackson Memorial Hospital. “The care I received here has been amazing,” he said. “Really, a shout out to all the doctors and the incredible nurses who work here. Their talent’s truly helped me, and their skill.”
Due to Hammar’s injuries, he was unable to attend his graduation from Miami Ad School, June 10. His parents, who traveled from Sweden to witness his graduation, attended the ceremony on his behalf and were presented with a special golden hammer. Hammar’s classmates also signed his diploma.
Since he couldn’t be there, Hammar recorded a special video message that played at the moment his parents accepted their son’s award. “Take care, everyone. I love you all,” he said during the clip.
Police continue searching for the two men who targeted Hammar.
Hammar said he plans to rest, then go on job interviews. “I’m ready to get started, so I’m working on my portfolio,” he said.
Despite all he’s had to endure, he said he wouldn’t change anything. “Yeah, I’d go back to Wynwood. Of course, yeah,” he said. “I’ll go back to the diner and have steak frites. Of course.”
Hammar’s classmates have started a GoFundMe page to help pay for his medical expenses. As of Saturday afternoon, it had raised more than $18,500.
If you have any information on this armed robbery and shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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