Opera performer shot on I-205 sings again - KPTV - FOX 12

Opera performer shot on I-205 sings again

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At choir practice at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Northeast Portland, the director settles down the altos, the sopranos, even the baritones.

But it's no ordinary choir director.

Police said Brian Tierney, 30, was the victim of a senseless, random shooting six months ago.

Tierney was on his way home from choir practice in March. Investigators said Tierney was driving on I-205 when someone shot him at least six times.

"A lot of the things leading up to it, I don't remember much. I don't remember the rehearsal," Brian Tierney said. "Then I remember the ambulance ride, it kinda jumps from there."

"I was kinda (sic) in total shock," Brian's wife, Katie Tierney said.

She said she was dumbfounded as doctors at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center explained her husband's injuries. His right side riddled with bullets, including damage to his face.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Ameen Ramzy was the first to treat Tierney that night.

"What's most vivid to me, was the number and pattern, and it suggested to me was something really horrific," said Ramzy.

Saving Tierney's life was the first priority, then saving his voice.

With serious damage to his lung, Tierney's wife, a speech pathologist, knew her husband's voice was in jeopardy.

"At one point, Brain had been on the ventilator, I think it was eight or nine days," Katie Tierney said. "There's more risk of infection and risk of pneumonia and those things. And also risk of damage to his vocal folds and as a singer that's really scary."

"I thought I'd never be able to have the kind of power behind your voice I had before, " Brian Tierney said. "The doctor would come in and say, 'How's my singing gunshot patient and he would make me sing something and at first, I couldn't sing anything really."

Tierney said the doctors took special care not to damage his vocal cords. Little by little, day by day, the operatic tenor found his voice again.

During an interview with FOX 12, Tierney sang a German love song to his wife and a piece from an Italian opera as well."

"It's one of those things, I've come out of it a lot stronger than I went into it," he said.

Police continue to believe the shooter was driving a black Cadillac Escalade with large chrome rims, low tires and tinted windows. If you have any information, contact Crimestoppers. 

If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.

Visit www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.

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