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Wagoner Man Shot On Thanksgiving Relives Shooting

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A Thanksgiving Day shooting left 73-year-old Kenneth Payne in a wheelchair and with a speech impediment, but he says his guardian angel was looking out for him that fateful day. A Thanksgiving Day shooting left 73-year-old Kenneth Payne in a wheelchair and with a speech impediment, but he says his guardian angel was looking out for him that fateful day.
WAGONER, Oklahoma -

Seventy-three-year-old Kenneth Payne was shot and left for dead at a Wagoner gun range Thanksgiving morning. He was leaving Toppers when two men followed him down a trail and shot him in the leg and back of the head.

The injuries put him in a wheelchair and left him with a speech impediment, but he has no trouble telling what happened.

Payne honed his talents at the gun range.

"[It's] a matter of getting good enough to get bulls-eyes with just a rifle and with a pistol. To me it's a lot of fun," he said.

And last Thanksgiving morning, he'd had fun at the gun range and was just getting ready to leave when, suddenly, he was on the ground, paralyzed and scared.

"I knew what happened to me. I knew I had been shot," he said.

The bullet to the leg dropped Payne and kept him from fighting back when he was shot again, this time, in the back of the head.

As he lay bleeding on the trail, he managed to call for help.

"I knew I had to get help with the cell phone. I was afraid I was going to die if I didn't."

Payne spent the next few days in the hospital, unconscious, literally on the brink of death.

"It was that close. The bullet went behind my eye. It went down into my mouth. It went through my tongue, out my mouth then actually into my throat. Then down into my arm and it's still there."

And a month and a half after the shooting, so is he, but his face is numb which makes it hard to eat, and he's stuck in a wheelchair.

It's been a tough time for the Payne family and they'd like to see the gunmen behind bars.

"I'm angry at some of the stuff they stole because it meant something to me sentimentally. But as far as angry at being shot, these guys are sick, you know what I mean, to shoot somebody in the back, to shoot somebody period."

But, despite his injuries, Payne says he still has a winning hand.

"I'm lucky. I had a guardian angel on my shoulder that day. It just wasn't my time to go."

The Wagoner County Sheriff says he's confident someone in the area knows something about what happened. He encourages anyone who can help to call his office or the OSBI.

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