A man who spent 16 years in prison for a 2004 school shooting in upstate New York was attacked by a sword-wielding vagrant at the homeless shelter where he now works — and he’s going viral with candid TikTok updates on his recovery.
Jon Romano, who was released from prison in 2020, had to have his arms re-attached after they were severed in the terrifying Aug. 29 attack in Albany, that also left him with severe injuries to his head and legs, according to The Times-Union.
Romano, 34, recounted the ordeal last week in the first of a series of nine TikToks recorded from his hospital bed, cycling through a range of emotions from hopelessness to optimism.
“The guy comes running right at me screaming ‘f—ing white devil.’ And you know, I run, ha. I run for my life literally,” Romano said in one of the clips, all of which have since racked up between close to hundreds of thousands to more than a million views.
He said the attack started after he confronted a man getting lunch at the homeless shelter for using racist language.
The assailant, who had two swords on him, “catches me on the stairway and knocks me down and I’m lying on the stairs,” Romano recalled.
“He just starts swinging the swords, and he’s chopping up my legs real bad and I’m still holding them up even as they’re falling apart,” he continued.
Romano said he lost consciousness — and woke up to the deranged man chopping off his arms.
“I don’t know why I’m alive to this day,” he said through tears. “I’ve been in the hospital for three and a half weeks now. I can’t really move my arms or my legs, I can move my left one a little bit but not my hands and I got pins holding my bones together. And I’ve lost all independence man I’m just lying in bed 24/7.”
Suspect Randell Mason, 42, is charged with multiple felonies including attempted first degree murder.
He reportedly admitted to police that he “chopped up” Romano after a disagreement.
Romano has been seeking redemption for the shooting at Columbia High School, in the Albany suburbs, nearly two decades ago, the Times-Union reported.
Then 16, Romano fired a 12-gauge shotgun at students and staff, injuring a teacher, before he was tackled and disarmed by an assistant principal, according to the local outlet.
He was convicted of attempted murder and released from prison in 2020. He had since been working at the Community Connections Drop-In Center in the poverty-stricken neighborhood of Arbor Hill, not far from the state Capitol.
In Romano’s subsequent clips, which have racked up millions of views, he seemed upbeat and focused on overcoming his injuries.
“We’re still going to push forward, we’re still going to talk about reforms and doing good,” he said.
He regained some movement in his arms — which were reattached, and said doctors told him there is a chance he could one day walk again.
In one clip posted Sunday, Romano is seen basking in the sun in the courtyard of a hospital.
“It’s a gorgeous day and I just wanted to share it with y’all,” he said through a wide grin. “And I really needed this and I’m so happy for this. I’m happy to be alive.”
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