'I almost lost everything'
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“It was so fast,” Giugliano recalled. “I covered my head. One [shot] went over and the other one hit me. At first, I didn’t know I was hit. I went flying back in the seat. I thought I got tackled. I fell into the seats, short of breath and [it felt like] my body was on fire. I had a hole in my arm the size of a half-dollar and a bullet in my chest. I was in and out of consciousness.”
Ferguson was tackled and held by three men before authorities arrived. By then, Giugliano told the Herald, there was complete pandemonium.
Giugliano was brought to North Shore Medical Center, where he was kept overnight for the arm wound and released the next day. Doctors told him that because his chest had swelled up from the bullet and his body had suffered trauma, it was not possible to remove it immediately ── and he would need to come back within two weeks.
“The bullet hurt coming out more than it did going in,” he said. “But that was the easy part. The two years after were much tougher. Wounds can heal, you can be fine. But inside my mind? I had an emotional breakdown. My head was all messed up. It affected my whole family.”
Giugliano’s second-oldest daughter, Dina, then 13, can vouch for that because she was the only one of his children able to be by his bedside immediately after he was taken to the hospital. Dina, who lives in Franklin Square, recalled that day as if it was yesterday.
Dina and her sister, Dawn, then 15, and their grandparents were in the kitchen when the phone call came from the police that Robert had been shot and in the hospital. Dina’s younger sister, Bobbi, then 9, was being taken to church choir rehearsal by their mother, Donna, who was not at home when the police called. Dawn picked up the phone and told her grandparents and Dina that “Daddy’s been shot.”
“I didn’t know how to process that or what that meant,” Dina told the Herald. “Then I saw everyone’s body language change and tears. I knew it was something deeper than ‘Daddy’s been shot.’”
Dina’s grandparents had told her and Dawn not to tell their mother about the shooting immediately after she arrived home from dropping Bobbi off. Instead, they decided to tell her simply that their father had been hurt on the train and they had to go to the hospital. Upon arriving, Dina said, the scene was utter chaos.