Shooting survivor improving, still facing surgeries

Two weeks after he was shot at a RadioShack, James Dolan "just wants to get out of the hospital," a family spokesman says.

Published December 4, 2004

He has survived without brain damage and his condition has been upgraded to good, but James Dolan still faces several reconstructive surgeries and a month in the hospital, a family spokesman said Friday.

The RadioShack employee was blinded when he was shot in the head during a shooting rampage at the store two weeks ago and is scheduled to have three or four surgeries on his face next week.

"He's handling it quite well under the circumstances. He just wants to get out of the hospital," Ric Cornelius, a spokesman for Dolan's family, said Friday. "Right now it's a matter of getting him healthy and getting him home."

The community has rallied around Dolan, a 30-year-old father of three, and his family.

Two area churches have adopted the Dolans for the holidays and a trust fund set up for the family has raised $60,000. An architecture firm and contractors are donating their services to help remodel the Dolans' home and make it safe for him now that he is blind.

Cornelius, who employs Dolan's wife, said the family is grateful for the help. "Everyone has stepped up to the plate, and the Dolans want to thank the community for the outpouring of support," he said. "We're still looking for volunteers."

Dolan was working a late shift at the RadioShack at the Gateway Market Center on Nov. 18 when Justin Cudar, 25, walked in and began shooting. In addition to Dolan, Cudar shot employee Joana Cruz, 19, and customer Kenneth Powell, 23, before killing himself. Cruz and Powell died.

Cornelius, a broker manager for Sand Key Realty Sales and Rentals, said the Dolans have had a rough few months.

First the hurricanes battered the family home in St. Petersburg. Then Dolan's wife, Christina Dolan, 27, underwent surgery. Before she could recover, her husband was shot.

"It's been bad luck for them one thing after another; boom, boom, boom," Cornelius said. "First the hurricanes, then her, then him."

The couple has two children, Haley, 6, and J.T., 2. Dolan also has primary custody of Charles, his 12-year-old son from a previous relationship.

Dolan began working a sales job at RadioShack about a year ago. He recently completed managerial training and was waiting for a supervisory position to open in the RadioShack system.

RadioShack has set up donation boxes at store registers across the state for Dolan.

Cornelius said the Dolans plan to build an additional room in their home so an extended family member can help take care of James Dolan. The house also will be outfitted with appliances and other amenities specially made for use by the blind.

Cornelius said Dolan is improving steadily.

"He's fluent with doctors, nurses and family," Cornelius said. "He gets out of bed and shakes his legs; he has his good points, his ups and downs."

Contributions to the Dolan Family Trust can be made at any Wachovia bank or sent to: Dolan Family Trust, care of Sand Key Realty, to 2701 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, FL, 33785.