Winnipegger Les Lehmann says he's 'no hero' after being shot in DR
Shot 10 times trying to fight off intruders in front of visiting Manitoba students
A Winnipeg man who was shot in the Dominican Republic as visiting students from Manitoba watched in horror is speaking out for the first time since the incident.
Les Lehmann was shot numerous times during a break-in at his apartment complex in the Dominican Republic in January, as he was trying to fight off the intruders.
Manitoba students visiting to work at a local orphanage witnessed the entire event.
Lehmann said in spite of the long road back to recovery, he's in good spirits and feels lucky to be alive. He said he has no regrets and he would do it again if he had to.
"I got hurt," he said. "But I didn't get hurt that bad."
He said the doctors were stunned he survived.
"The doctors were sort of shaking their head the next day," he said. "They thought there was nine (bullet) wounds in me. Turns out there were 10. But they said there were no bullets in me."
Part of Lehmann's encounter with intruders was caught by a surveillance camera.
The video shows him going after the culprits with a bat after they broke into his Dominican apartment complex.
Lehmann said he never stopped to think his life was in jeopardy.
"Survival. I wasn't afraid," he said. "I was probably angry more than anything that two people would come and try to break into my place. But at the time it was sort of surreal. There was virtually no pain, you get hit by the bullets, the body seems to look after that."
The attack lasted a few minutes. Lehmann's recovery will take much longer. He uses a walking stick now, after spending 10 weeks in a wheelchair for his knee.
"It hit the top of the tibia the bottom of the femur," he said.
And he has years yet of physical therapy for his hand.
"The ulnar nerve was severed," he said, pointing at a long scar on his arm. "The doctors have said nerves take time to regrow," he said. "But eventually, I think it will be 100 per cent."
Some of the Manitoba high school students from St. Jean Baptiste and Ste. Anne who watched as Lehmann tried to protect them are still getting counselling.
Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine superintendent Alain Laberge said they are grateful for his selfless act.
"We bless Monsieur Lehmann," he said. "It was so heroic, if I can say that. He did so much for the children."
For now Lehmann said he's taking things slowly.
"Right now, I'm spending time with my grandkids more than anything," he said.
He's also planning to celebrate turning 65 with a party next week.
Some of the students he saved will be there to celebrate with him.