Here's How Ricky Skaggs' 7-Year-Old Son Being Shot by a Stranger Taught Him Forgiveness
American country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs learned how to forgive from his seven-year-old son after the youngster got shot in the face.
Life irreparably changed for the Skaggs on August 17, 1986. Ricky’s first wife, Brenda and his son Andrew, headed back home to Lexington, Ky. after a visit with relatives. Just north of Roanoke on Interstate 81, while overtaking a truck, the driver fired into the car.
The bullet struck 7-year old Andrew in the neck and face and grazed the carotid artery. It caused extensive damage to his jaw, palate, and lips, and tore out several teeth, which led to reconstructive cosmetic surgery likely until 16 years of age.
When police arrested Edward Duehring for the shooting of Ricky’s son, he went to the hospital to tell Andrew the news, but his reaction came as a surprise as Andrew said, “Well, Daddy, we need to pray for him and forgive him because he doesn’t know Jesus.”
In a book written by Jerry Dahmen, I Love Life in Spite of It All, Ricky explained how he felt at that moment. "I felt I had been grabbed and shaken for a minute. I was feeling bad things about the man. But when Andrew talked to me of forgiveness, I knew . . . I was the one who needed to repent," Ricky said.
In February 1987, Edward Duehring got sentenced to 40 years in prison for using a firearm in a felony, possession of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines, along with a hit-and-run that resulted in personal injury.
In his defense, Edward from Germantown, Md., testified that his employer had him on a nearly-impossible driving schedule and that he had been taking drugs to stay awake.
After only four hours of sleep in eight days driving across the country, Edward said that he started hearing voices. He thought it to be the voices of people following him and fired a warning shot in their direction.
Remorseful after the tragic incident, Edward said that he hoped to get into a position where he could help pay for Andrew’s hospital bills. By that time, he had already undergone three surgeries and faced at least another two.
The shooting also left Andrew with emotional scars, as Brenda said he since developed fears of being in a car at night and of being alone.
In a related story, a three-year-old girl got shot in the head during a road rage incident. In October 2018, a Florida mother and her toddler were on their way home when a man “flew up” behind them. After he struck the vehicle, he sped up and fired a shot at them from an angle.
Miraculously the three-year-old survived, and after a few months started walking again.