On Tuesday afternoon, a couple walked into a small, but busy restaurant in Las Vegas’ Chinatown. A waiter had called in sick earlier in the day, and the restaurant’s co-owner, Joe Muscaglione, was talking with a few customers.
So Chengyan Wang, his left arm draped in a sling, held up two fingers with his right hand and led the couple to a table inside ShangHai Taste.
To the couple it probably meant nothing. But the five-second moment was remarkable, given where Wang was less than four months ago.
Police said a masked gunman stormed into the restaurant near Wynn Road at 2:55 a.m. on Dec. 20, then shot Wang 11 times. He underwent multiple surgeries and recovered in the intensive care unit at University Medical Center.
The gunman was later arrested and identified as Rashawn Gaston-Anderson, 23, who is currently awaiting a competency hearing on Friday.
“After I left rehab, I still felt pain in my shoulder and arm,” Wang said through an interpreter. “Right now, I have to take pain medicine 24 hours. Otherwise, I can’t even sleep.”
Wang was released from the hospital about three weeks ago, and Tuesday marked his second visit to the restaurant, where he previously worked as a waiter. He was working the night of Dec. 20, when police said Gaston-Anderson shot him after what Spring Valley Area Command captain Michelle Tavarez called a “burglary gone wrong.”
“We are so grateful he is alive and survived,” Tavarez said at the time. “It is not every day that someone gets shot 11 times and lives through it. God was on his side.”
Doctors still aren’t sure what Wang’s long-term prognosis will be. His left arm may never fully recover. His body is dotted with scars, but he can walk and use his right arm.
Tuesday marked his second visit to the restaurant since he was released from the hospital. The first was immediate.
“Before he even went home, he wanted to come straight here,” Muscaglione said Tuesday.
Wang also got to meet the Metropolitan Police Department officers who first found him after the shooting, as they visited the restaurant on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was very excited and happy to see them,” he said. “Because they saved me and gave me another life.”
Muscaglione doesn’t know when or if Wang will be able to return to full-time work, but Wang’s enthusiasm was unmissable on Tuesday, and the restaurant’s other staff members were clearly enjoying his presence.
Several fundraisers were set up by members of the community, and a GoFundMe that has already raised tens of thousands of dollars is still in operation.
After a brief interview, Wang posed for photos while Muscaglione talked with a few people near the entrance. With his right hand, Wang furiously typed something quick into Google Translate on his cell phone.
Then he came over and flipped over his phone screen.
“Please help me thank those who helped me,” it said.