In 1993, Leroy Smith shot policeman James Seymour when he intercepted him during an armed robbery. Twenty years later, they’re good friends.
The pair, who reunited years after the traumatic incident and after Smith was released from prison, now work together to help younger generations of Londoners falling into violence.
Appearing on This Morning, they opened up to Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary about the incident and their unlikely friendship.
Smith was on his way to pick up some money from a pub when he was intercepted by Seymour and a colleague.
In an attempt to get away, Smith shot Seymour’s colleague in the leg, and then Seymour in the back. The bullet narrowly missed his spine, with the police officer describing it as ‘like slow motion’.
However, they then reunited, with Smith saying: ‘I apologised, and from there we built up a friendship. It’s led to us being able to do talks on LBC radio, worked with some gang kids in California.
‘All of this is building up momentum.’
Smith went on to say that he used to hate the police, but since getting to know Seymour, his mindset has completely changed.
Asked about how he was able to forgive Smith, Seymour said he knew it ‘wasn’t personal’ when he shot him, and realised that he would have very easily been able to kill him, but hadn’t.
He said he saw no point in holding onto ‘bitterness and anger’, adding: ‘Leroy served 80 percent of his sentence, which is a lot.’
‘Leroy could have easily killed us both. He had more than enough time and the means to do it but he didn’t. He shot us to stop us and that’s what he achieved,’ Seymour continued.
‘I just thought that, after 20 odd years, why have all that bitterness and anger? It’s not doing you any good.’
The pair have now written a book together about the experience, which they’re hoping will help others.
Some This Morning viewers were taken with the story, with one tweeting: ‘What a heartwarming story on @thismorning showing how people can turn their life around, so lovely to hear, and how a friendship can come out of a awful situation’.
Another said: ”Anyone else sitting crying at Leroy and James? What an amazing story of forgiveness.
‘What a story!’ one more added: ‘This shows the strength of human forgiveness. We need more stories like this on the show. Real stories of violence and forgiveness.’
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.
Credit: Original article published here.