St. Charles Co. man walks again after being shot, left for dead

Smith had to have brain surgery and was in a coma for three months.

O’FALLON, Mo. — He was told he would never walk again after a gunman attacked him while on a date and left him for dead.

But Chris Smith is making strides, on a long road to recovery.

Smith went on his first date with Leslie Reeves almost a year ago. Her ex-boyfriend is accused of tracking them down, killing Reeves and trying to kill Smith.

Both were shot in the head. Unfortunately, Reeves died, but Smith survived.

RELATED: Man charged with killing ex-girlfriend now accused of trying to hire someone to murder investigator, surviving victim

“He laid on the floor for 13 hours with his dog on his side,” his mom Sharon Costanza said. “He is a miracle.”

Smith had to have brain surgery and was in a coma for three months.

“I don’t remember anything other than waking up in February and I was told I was shot in the head and I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ and not feeling my left leg or left arm,” he said. “The bullet nicked a lot of neuro pathways and I had three strokes because of that. I was told I would never walk again, straight up.”

Since then, he’s been living step by step for the past year and rebuilding his life.

“I’m taking baby steps,” Smith said. 

Costanza said her son was beyond active. 

He played high school and college football, loved golfing and even performed in a band as a musician.

“I was a guy that went a thousand miles, non-stop,” he said.

Now, he’s learning to gain independence and needs a wheelchair.

However, almost a year after this tragedy, he’s been able to walk again after taking his first steps with a cane this past week.

“I’m trying to lose the cane totally. The whole thing has been surreal, I’ve lost a lot, but I’ve also gained a lot,” Smith said. “Life gives you the life that you get, you either sulk about it or make the best of the situation and fight for what you want.” 

Over the months, he’s found inspiration.

“If you want something that bad, don’t stop until you get it,” Smith told 5 On Your Side. 

He’s trying to help others along the way.

He wants to talk to students about domestic violence and wants to be an advocate for more ADA accessibility. 

For future plans, he hopes to get back into broadcasting. 

“I want to motivate, inspire and help people,” he said. 

Costanza said they call him Unstoppable Chris. 

Through determination and dedication, he’s been able to get back on his feet.

“There’s a saying: Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations,” he said.

As for the alleged shooter, Robert Tarr is still in jail.

He faces additional charges as of September.

He was indicted by a grand jury, accused of trying to hire someone to kill Smith and an investigator on this case while he was in jail.

Smith can’t work in the meantime and is on disability.

Meanwhile, there is a GoFundMe set up to help Chris Smith with medical costs.

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