Innocent man shot in forehead during Edmonton crime spree survives despite odds

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Innocent driver shot during Edmonton crime spree continues to defy odds
WATCH: It was a crime that shocked our city nearly two years ago: an innocent driver was shot in the head during a crime spree. The 39-year-old man was not expected to live but he keeps battling the odds. Sarah Ryan has his story – Feb 18, 2020

Nearly two years after his parents started planning his funeral, an innocent bystander shot in a shocking crime spree continues to defy the odds of his prognosis.

It was March 2018 when Edmonton police started tracking five suspects following a home invasion at an apartment near 106 Avenue and 123 Street. There, investigators said two men were kidnapped at gunpoint over drugs.

READ MORE: Innocent man ‘probably won’t survive’ after being shot in violent Edmonton crime spree: police

They drove away in two stolen vehicles, eventually meeting at Manning Drive and 18 Street. That’s where one of the offenders shot an innocent driver, Herman Koo, in the head as he sat in traffic waiting to turn left.

“I was coming home from the gym, Goodlife, and I get shot… in the forehead. The bullet is still in there,” Herman explained.

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He doesn’t remember the night itself but was told by police and his parents what happened.

“It was about 4 a.m. in the morning when someone knocked on the door. I was surprised,” Herman’s father, Simon Koo, explained.

“Then two police officers told us they don’t think he’s going to make it.”

Herman Koo in hospital after being shot in the head. Courtesy: Simon Koo

The police rushed the Koos to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, where they found their son hooked up to all kinds of machines, with a bullet hole in his forehead.

There, doctors again warned that Herman wasn’t likely to survive. His parents started planning his funeral. But Herman held on.

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“He was in a coma for 10 days with full life support. We were there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’m glad he finally woke up,” Simon said.

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Herman Koo at the Glenrose Hospital. Courtesy: Simon Koo

When he regained consciousness though, Herman had forgotten how to speak and how to walk.

When he was released from the intensive care unit, he’d already beaten the odds simply by surviving. But the doctors painted a bleak picture of Herman’s future.

“He thought he was never going to make it to a real life and he was going to be in a wheelchair. The doctor told us straight. He won’t be talking again, he won’t be able to eat again,” Simon recalled, dabbing away tears.

Herman Koo doing physiotherapy at the Glenrose Hospital. Courtesy: Simon Koo

But Herman is a glass half full type of person. He was determined to do what everyone said he couldn’t: regain his independence.

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“I learned to slowly walk again. I learned to talk again,” he said.

Herman Koo doing physiotherapy at the Glenrose Hospital. Courtesy: Simon Koo

In the fall of 2019, he even got back behind the wheel of a car. His next goal is to return to his job as a pipeline control operator.

“He came a long way. He came a long, long way. I’m so proud of my son,” Simon said.

READ MOE: Violent Edmonton crime spree leads to more than 100 charges against 5 people

Police eventually used their helicopter to track down the stolen vehicles and apprehended five suspects. Three were minors and two were adult men.

Cashton L’Hirondelle was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in jail for kidnapping with a firearm, robbery with a firearm and discharging a firearm with intent.

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Patrick Boyd was sentenced to a little more than five years for kidnapping with a firearm and robbery with a firearm.

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