Dan Gregory, the brother of former Maryland basketball player Dino Gregory Jr., was shot in his right arm while managing to stop someone from driving a car into a crowd of protestors in Seattle June 7.
Dino said that his brother, 27, called him earlier in the day to tell him that he was going to attend the protest that day. It was one of many demonstrations around the country where people have been calling for justice in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and an end to police brutality.
When Dino got a notification on his phone later that afternoon about someone being injured while stopping a car at the protest, he didn’t even consider that it might be his brother. When his wife told him that the person in the video resembled his brother, he still didn’t think it could be him, but when he looked closer and kept reading the news, he realized it was Dan.
Dino said he expected his brother to have broken his leg or arm because those are injuries typically associated being hit by a car. He didn’t know Dan had been shot until he found out in the hospital waiting room.
“And then we’re sitting in the waiting room looking at the news some more, and then we see that he got shot,” Dino said on Glenn Clark Radio June 9. “We’re like ‘What is going on right now?’”
When they found out that he had been shot, they started to panic. After learning Dan was in stable condition, Dino said that he watched the video again and couldn’t believe it.
“It was unbelievable. It’s all I can say about that,” Dino said. “He told me what happened and how it happened. And I feel blessed that he’s still around. I feel blessed that he saved those people and it was just amazing.”
Dino Gregory said his brother is doing well and that their mother, Della, is coming to visit him. He added that if it were up to his brother, he’d be out protesting again right away, but the family is going to make sure that he gets rest and recovers first.
Gregory, a native of Baltimore, graduated from Mount Saint Joseph and played for Maryland from 2007-2011. He now works in law enforcement in Washington state. He says he is very proud of his brother and that nothing can compare to knowing that he saved lives by protecting those at the protest.
“For sure that’s better than beating North Carolina,” he said, referring to the Terps’ 2008 road win over the basketball powerhouse that is North Carolina. “There’s nothing better than seeing your brother doing something like that. I mean, he actually saved lives. Basketball is fun and it’s great and it does a lot of things but saving lives — I don’t think it does that.”
Their father, Dino Gregory Sr., worked as a Baltimore City police officer for 20 years, and their mother worked as a 911 dispatcher for 30 years. Their parents taught them to stand by their convictions and to take action when they see something wrong.
“They both always taught us, ‘Always stand by your morals. If you believe something is wrong, stand up for it,’ and it’s something that Dan really believes in and I understand 100 percent,” Gregory said. “Just the fact that Dan is willing to put his life in for somebody else really shows you what he’s thinking and how he’s thinking about this whole thing.”
Gregory said it makes sense that his brother was willing to risk himself to protect other people. While he said that no one expects this kind of thing to happen, it isn’t shocking to hear what his brother did.
“I’m not really surprised. My mother, she’s not surprised by this,” Gregory said. “You know, obviously you can never imagine this. But they always told us to stand by your morals and be who you are, and if you see something wrong, try your best to fix it.”
Gregory said his parents were always nervous when he and his brother left the house when they were teenagers and had conversations with them about what they may encounter.
“We talked about things I should do when I get pulled over, how to keep myself safe … and what I should do when I walk around in public, so people won’t think I’m a threat and that sort of thing,” Gregory said. “So my dad was a police officer, but he understood how I looked and how people can perceive that and what will happen to me if I’m in the wrong situation at the wrong time with the wrong person.”
Gregory said he understands the importance of issues regarding systemic racism and accountability with law enforcement. Even though there aren’t simple solutions to the problem, he knows that things do need to change. He wants everyone to be able to go about their business and not have to worry about things that may happen because of what they look like or how they are perceived.
“I want everybody who looks like me to be safe when they go out there and not to worry about anything else in regular life,” Gregory said.
Gregory said that he doesn’t have all the answers to the problem of systemic racism and police brutality toward the black community, but he is encouraged when he sees that people are speaking out and trying to do the right thing.
“I’m not 100 percent sure,” Gregory said. “But it feels good to know that other people are standing up and saying, ‘Yes, we do need to change, and this has to stop, and we have to stop living like this and move forward.’”
For more from Gregory, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics