RICHMOND, Va. -- August 2003 is a time that will be etched in Telly Owens' mind forever.
A late-night encounter with gunmen who had robbery on their minds outside of Owens' south Richmond home.
That night changed his life as well as the lives of three of his friends.
"The guns came out and four of us were shot. I was actually shot twice in the head and immediately I lost all feeling in my right side. I was paralyzed. I'm very blessed to be here today because things could have gone in a different direction."
It took Owens a year to recover and he still feels the sting of knowing that the criminals involved never paid for the crime.
When he had a face-to-face meeting with the alleged shooter, thoughts of revenge crossed his mind.
"I was standing right beside him and he didn't even know it. And God almighty steered me on the right path and said this is not the right way to do things, we'll let the courts handle the situation and I'm here today standing in a medical laboratory instead of a jail."
Owens wants young people to know that his decision not to retaliate made all the difference. He now has a successful medical career and owns First Stick Medical Draw Station, an independent lab in south Richmond.
Disheartened by the increasing gun violence, Owens hopes his story can steer people in the right direction. He wants to remind them that snap decisions can lead to lifelong consequences.
"If I can reach out to one of the individuals to change their path throughout the process, then I've done a good job," Owens said.