Donna Beasley stood in the shaded doorway of the hospital and paused before she wheeled her husband, Jimmy, out into the sunshine.
The crowd of people gathered outside the main entrance of CAMC General Hospital stayed silent, holding their applause until he was inside a waiting SUV. Several men helped him get into the car, shielding him from view.
“He doesn’t want people to see him like that,” Shaun Dearien said of his friend, Jimmy Beasley.
After about eight weeks, Beasley, a Charleston nightclub bouncer, got out of the hospital Friday morning.
He was shot 12 times at a downtown Charleston bar April 26.
Dearien said Beasley, 44, has made much more progress than anyone expected in the two months since the shooting.
“He’s talking, he’s strong, he’s still the same person,” Dearien said. “He still has the same sense of humor.”
Beasley has been through multiple surgeries, his wife, Donna Beasley, said Friday. She said her husband will have to continue being fed through a tube for now, because he can’t swallow. He can’t put weight on his right leg, but he can now stand on his left, she said.
Police said two Charleston men shot Beasley while he was escorting two women to their vehicle around 2 a.m. Beasley had kicked the men out of The Cellar, at 8 Capitol St., earlier that night, according to police.
George Edward Sawyer, 29, was arrested by police moments after the shooting. He jumped into the Kanawha River to evade police but swam back to shore. Tasheem Ali Collins, 37, was arrested the next day in Dunbar. Both men are charged with malicious wounding and remain in South Central Regional Jail.
“I never knew how many people knew and love Jimmy until this happened,” Donna Beasley said.
About a dozen motorcycles followed the Beasleys’ SUV as it left the hospital.
Ronald Carpenter, who owns Rallow’s Place, in Dunbar, drove one of them. He said he expects Jimmy will have a whole lot more friends watching his back because of the shooting.
“Obviously, he has friends above,” Carpenter said.
“It’s a miracle,” Kristen Oxley, of Sissonville, said Friday, wiping tears from her eyes.
Oxley said she and her daughter, Morgan, have visited the hospital often and watched Beasley’s progress.
“It’s just amazing he’s getting to go home — home versus another facility,” Oxley said.
Reach Kate White at email@example.com or 304-348-1723.