PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — From their home in Pfluvergille, the family of 45-year-old Efe Obayagbona was stunned to hear the news unfold of a mass shooting from Midland to Odessa, Texas. In the mass shooting Saturday, seven people were killed and 22 people were injured. Obayagbona survived but was seriously injured.
Obayagbona is a husband and a father of three children, ages two months, three years, and five years. His young daughters say they miss watching TV with their dad and playing hide-and-go-seek.
His wife, Ivie Osagie, spoke with KXAN Tuesday. She explained that Obayagbona has been doing work driving trucks in the Permian Basin for two years now and comes home on weekends to be with his family in Pflugerville.
Osagie recalled speaking with her husband on the phone the morning of the shooting. He was driving along I-20 for the trucking company he works for. Later in the day, Osagie was unable to get a hold of him.
At around 3 or 4 p.m., Osagie called her husband’s phone and an ICU nurse picked up, letting her know her husband had been shot. Osagie turned on the news and learned about the mass shooting that had seriously injured her husband.
Obayagbona was shot three times while driving a truck on his work route. The shooting shattered his right wrist and hit his left arm. A bullet went through his chest, leaving bullet fragments in his lungs. Osagie explained that he was removed from ICU Monday night, but remains in the hospital in Odessa. It is likely Obayagbona will always have a piece of the bullet in his lungs, she explained.
“He’s in a lot of pain,” Osagie added.
She said at the time he was shot, her husband was, “trying to provide for his kids and family.”
“And for someone to try and take his life,” Osagie said. “I cried, I cried, I cried, what could I tell my kids?”
“I tell him to be strong for the kids and to come back home to the kids,” she said. “It’s been tough.”
She feels blessed and thankful her husband survived the shooting, she cannot imagine the pain the families are going through who have lost loved ones.
Osagie is grateful for the stranger and sheriff’s deputy who helped bring her husband to a hospital to get medical care after he was shot.
Osagie and her children have not been able to visit Obayagbona in West Texas, though she has family members who are with him now.
They communicate via FaceTime while Obayagbona is in the hospital, on a chat Tuesday, he said he is still in pain but doing better.
Via Facetime, Obayagbona recounted what happened to him Saturday.
“I was on my earpiece, I was on the phone talking to my friend, I told him, there’s a lot of cops heading east on I -20, I wonder what’s going on?” Obayagbona said. “At first, we thought it was an accident and I told my friend, thank God we passed that way so I won’t be stuck in traffic.”
“The next minute, it was just a rapid-fire shots in my truck, I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know where the bullet was coming from,” he said. “It broke my wrist and my hand — blew up my hand, it shattered my wrist, then another bullet came thought my left hand, then another through my lungs.”
Obayagbona believes that all these gunshots happened over a matter of a couple of seconds. The force of the bullets pushed him out of his seat even though he was seat-belted, he said.
Next, he recalled exiting the truck, begging for help from anyone who passed by on the road.
“But I was losing so much strength I couldn’t sit down on the road, and a couple of guys and a lady they stopped and they came for my help,” Obayagbona said. It was this group of strangers who flagged down the sheriff’s deputy who rushed Obayagbona to the hospital.
“I just think we all should just be alert because in a thousand years I never thought that this stuff would happen to me,” he said. “We should just be alert because you don’t know what’s going to happen the next minute.”
The pain is so severe, he said, he wouldn’t wish it on his enemy.
The FaceTime call with Obayagbona ended abruptly– he was short of breath because his lungs are still recovering. With a quick exchange of “I love you’s” the family call was over.
Osagie hopes that those who hear her husband’s story are reminded to be aware of their surroundings. But she is also incredulous that another incident of mass violence happened in the United States.
“America is supposed to be one of the safest countries in the world,” Osagie said. “Shootings are becoming a normal thing, almost like a daily basis, it’s becoming too much of a norm and it’s not OK.”
She thinks the trend of mass shootings in the United States is unacceptable and wants those in power to work to prevent future violence. Osagie doesn’t have specific policy objectives she’s looking for yet (her focus is largely on her children and her husband’s recovery now) but she did note: “the way it’s so easy for people to get guns, I think it needs to be limited.”
“They need to make a change, something has to be done,” she continued, speaking of state and federal lawmakers. “Innocent lives have been killed, families have not been able to see their loved ones.”
Osagie and Obayagbona immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria more than ten years ago for better education and opportunities.
“Its a shock to our Nigerian community, to our family back home in Nigeria,” she said.
Obayagbona’s wife has created a fundraiser page to take in donations to help with his medical expenses and the loss of his income to their household, you can make donations here. Obayagbona is the breadwinner for their family
You can find links to fundraisers for other victims of the Midland-Odessa shooting and their families here.