VA shooting victim happy to be alive

Paul Burnside talks about being shot at the Dayton VA Medical Center. (WDTN Photo)
Paul Burnside talks about being shot at the Dayton VA Medical Center. (WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The victim of Monday’s shooting at the VA Medical Center is speaking out.

Paul Burnside is not believed to be the target of the gunman. He and suspect Neil Moore often played cards together with co-workers.

It is one of those co-workers that Burnside believes was the target.

The EMS worker says he holds a new appreciation for life despite facing six to eight weeks in recovery time.

What he does want is for the VA to step up security and their response time.

“He stepped between me and my friend, Leonard Peters, and he started raising the gun towards Leonard and Leonard grabbed his hands and he pushed it up and it went off and that’s when I knew it was a real gun,” said Burnside.

Burnside believes Neil Moore entered that break room with a different mission, accusing Peters of messing with his family.

Burnside stepped in to help, moments later, he was hit in his left calf.

Beairshelle: “How do you feel the medical center responded to this incident?’

Burnside: “I thought it was kind of slow. You know, I was laying down there for 30 minutes by myself. Everybody else had ran.”

Eventually, his friend got a hold of the director’s office and he was taken to Miami Valley Hospital.

Burnside says the incident was preventable.

“I’ll just put it like this. I don’t think it should have gone that far. I don’t think he should have gotten that far to where he was with a loaded gun.”

The victim says regardless of Moore’s frame of mind, there’s no excuse for his actions.

Beairshelle: What message do you have for Neil Moore tonight?

Burnside: “Just that, you know, that he doesn’t have to. There’s no reason to solve a verbal altercation with his family with a pistol. You know, I don’t have any animosity towards him you know, I could say he was my close associate, you know, but by the same token, I wouldn’t be sitting here if you hadn’t brought a gun into the VA.”

The bullet lodged in Burnside’s calf will be there for the rest of his life.

He told me it’s a reminder that he lives on for another day. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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