How is it possible for two former gang members to completely turn their lives around? Samson Phommabout and Levi Lieski join Adam Nugent and Kate Strong to talk about growing up in gangs, serving jail time, and ultimately finding each other after their terms in prison to start a whole new life! Learn more about their inspirational story of redemption on today’s episode!
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In this podcast excerpt, former gang member Samson Phommabout describes the moment when he was caught in a deadly drive-by shooting as a teenager.
SP: One time, me and my friend were just outside hanging out and getting drunk. I was like, “Hey man, let’s walk across the street.” Suddenly, this van pulls up and was like, “Yo!” and then they just start shooting at us. I was ducking, dodging bullets, and I could even hear the bullets flying past my ear. Then I turned around, and I just see my friend down. He got shot seven times—six in the chest and one right through the chin. I had to drag him back. He was just gushing blood. The last words he would say were, “Help me.” And there was nothing I could do. He was gone. That was when it really got serious.
AN: How old were you?
SP: I was only 15 at that time.
KS: Was that a wakeup call? Like, “Woah, wait a minute. This is life or death”?
SP: No. I wanted revenge. I got even deeper into the gangs.
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