Hawthorne City Councilman David York didn't do any Christmas shopping last month. The memory of Christmas, 1985, was still too fresh in his mind.
It was Nov. 22, 1985, when York, his wife, his 8-year-old daughter and his daughter's friend were climbing into his 1985 Chevrolet El Camino in the parking lot of the Redondo Beach Galleria after an evening of shopping.
A gunman approached York, demanded the keys and then shot York in the abdomen. The assailant jumped into the vehicle and drove away. The car was found two days later in Compton, stripped and burned.
York, 49, underwent two operations to repair damage to his small and large intestines. He spent 10 days in intensive care and another five weeks recuperating at home.
In a recent interview, York, a former Hawthorne police lieutenant, said he is about 99% recovered physically and emotionally, but doubts he'll ever be 100%.
"At the time I wondered if I was ever going to be back to normal," he said. "I didn't know what damage had been done.
"We, as a family, have tried to pick up the pieces and tried to move forward. But try as you may to keep it at the back of your mind, it's not easy to do."
York and his family were spared the trauma of reliving the shooting in Torrance Superior Court this month when the suspected assailant, Michael Rosell, 27, of Compton, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder and robbery. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20, when Rosell is expected to receive 18 years in state prison, according to his court-appointed attorney, John Yzurdiaga of Harbor Gateway.
York said he would like to see Rosell sentenced to a longer term but is glad to have him off the streets.
"There was no reason for him to shoot me," York said. "Looking at his prior convictions, he was getting progressively worse. If he had not been identified this time, what would have happened to the next guy he faced?"