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‘I Felt the Sting In the Back of the Head’: Innocent Bystander Shot with Stray Bullet In Houston Shooting That Killed TakeOff Recalls Chaos

Twenty-four-year-old Sydney Leday is lucky to be alive after she was shot in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 1. Leday was hit in the crossfire of the shooting that took the life of beloved recording artist TakeOff.

Leday — who was shot in the head and spent a week in the hospital — sat down with reporter Grace White from KHOU11 News on Jan. 18 to tell her story. Leday is from Houston but had been living in Los Angeles, California. She was back in Houston to celebrate her 24th birthday two days before the shooting. She was also celebrating Halloween with a friend and said she was dressed up as a nun for the occasion.

Sydney Leday
Sydney Leday describes being shot at the scene of the killing of rapper TakeOff. (Photos: KHOU11 News / YouTube)

“I really never dress up for Halloween,” she said. “And that was something I was excited about.”

Leday said she showed up at 810 Billiards and Bowling Alley for a private party at around midnight. The woman said she had a few drinks and the evening seemed normal until people started arguing while playing dice around 2:30 a.m. Leday said it seemed as though the argument began to get heated, although at first, it seemed like friendly banter between the players.

She said Quavo became upset and said he wanted to leave. “That’s when I knew something was wrong,” she remembered. Leday began to run away when the argument escalated and described the moment she felt the bullet hit her in the back of the head.

“I felt the sting in the back of the head,” she recalled. “I felt myself falling, and the person I was with picked me up, and we got in the car. But it was just, it was like a real, like a scary movie, really. Ironically, it was Halloween night. I had, I had on a, um, nun outfit. I had blood all over me.”

Leday’s friend helped her down the escalator and rushed her to the Memorial Hermann Hospital, 12 minutes away. She described calling her mother from the car before having a seizure.

“I was up the whole time, um, after I got shot in the head, and I called my mom and told her what happened and to come,” she recalled. “I told her to come to the hospital, but I ended up having a seizure, so I was on the phone with her the whole time.”

Leday spent time in a coma and woke to find her family all around her at the hospital. She is still recovering from the ordeal and said that once she got home from the hospital, she began to have panic attacks. She also had no appetite because of her head injury, which made her nauseous and frequently vomit.

“I feel like that part was even worse than the actual being shot in the head. Because I’m actually feeling all those feelings.”

Leday said she couldn’t write her name while in the hospital and had some memory problems while she was still hospitalized. She also didn’t know TakeOff had died until she was discharged, and Leday described how she felt learning that she wasn’t the only person shot.

“I was sad that it ended up like that, but, I mean, we were all in the same situation, unfortunately,” she said. “Somebody else didn’t survive, and I was just, I was grateful that I did because the place that it hit in my head, I just feel like it, it was a miracle.”

Leday is still recovering from the shooting, and a GoFundMe was set up to help her pay for her medical expenses because she does not have health insurance. Her mother said Leday was left with “physical and mental, disabling damages requiring treatment.”

“Every day is different,” said Leday. “I’m, I’m going through different emotions,” she said while noting that she is happy on most days but also has mixed emotions. “I have random times where I feel angry. Um, a lot… I wouldn’t say sadness. It’s… I have feelings of being grateful that I’m still here.”

Thirty-three-year-old Patrick Xavier Clark was arrested in connection with the shooting in December. Another man, Cameron Joshua, 22, was charged in November with illegally having a gun at the party. It is unclear who shot Leday.

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