The victim of a bus stabbing in downtown Tampa said on Friday he didn't know he was wounded until other riders told him.
Henry Richardson II was riding the number six HART bus on North Marion Street at Scott Street when the attack occurred. Two men banged on the bus doors at the stop light, he said, not a bus stop.
The driver let them board.
Richardson said the two men started causing trouble. He got up to help and never thought it might cost him his life.
Standing straight up, Richardson told us, "I was in shock."
He survived three tours in Vietnam. As part of the Special Forces 82nd Airborne Unit, Richardson jumped out of a plane 57 times. Fifteen of those jumps were directly into combat. He stared in the face of death and lived to talk about it.
He never thought he would stare it in that face again on a bus in Tampa.
He showed us 19 staples doctors put in his stomach because of the gash left by the knife.
He also showed us his neck.
"Back of my neck here,” he said, pointing out his injury, “all the way around here."
The fight that caused the injuries lasted only seven seconds.
Tampa Police Department says the other two men involved were Jorge and Alexander Alvarez.
When they forced their way on the bus, police said, they started trouble with the driver. Richardson got up from his second row seat to help so the bus could start moving again.
"They were out for blood,” he said.
The two men told Richardson to sit down.
"He told me, ‘Back up off me,’ and I did. I walked back to my seat. When I turned around to my right, I got hit," he said.
Then one of them stabbed him across the stomach and across the neck.
“They told me I lost a lot of blood,” he said.
Doctors also told him a centimeter deeper and the knife would have cut his main artery in his neck, causing almost certain death.
The suspects ran from the bus. Other riders hopped off, grabbed two-by-fours and held the men at bay until police arrived.
Jorge and Alexander Alvarez paid $7,500 each and bonded out of jail. Richardson said he prays for them, forgives them but will never forget what they did.