Boyce College student says he forgives attacker who stabbed him during pizza delivery
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Josh Lewis remains hospitalized. After initially discharging Lewis, his doctors decided to rescind the order and keep him for one additional night of observation, Terri Lewis told Southern Seminary News at 5:15 p.m.
A Boyce College student who was stabbed and carjacked outside of an emergency room while making a pizza delivery says he forgives his attacker while he continues to recover in the hospital, May 6.
Josh Lewis, 19, has been employed at Spinelli’s Pizzeria since last August and is a sophomore at Boyce, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While delivering a pizza to the emergency room at downtown Louisville’s Norton Hospital on Sunday afternoon, he says a man confronted him outside of his car and demanded his keys. When Lewis noticed the man had a knife, he dropped the keys and ran toward the hospital, but he says the man caught up with him and stabbed him in the back before taking off with his Jeep Cherokee and the pizza inside the car.
In an interview with Southern Seminary News, Lewis, who is from Detroit, said, “I’m not really holding a grudge against him. If he was in the same room as me right now, I would tell him what he did isn’t okay, but I would tell him that I forgive him and try to share the gospel with him and show him Christ.”
After checking into Norton’s emergency room, Lewis was transferred to the University of Louisville Hospital where he was treated for a collapsed lung and torn muscles. Doctors later realized that the knife also punctured part of Lewis’ liver. Lewis’ mother flew in from Detroit and says the stabbing could easily have killed him.
“We don’t look at this as an accident or a fluke, but God’s grace working in difficult situations,” said Terri Lewis. “God spared him, and we have no doubt about it.”
Since the story was first reported Sunday evening, Lewis has made headlines around the world, including major news aggregation sites like BuzzFeed, USA Today, and BBC. Lewis worries his story may have become a viral sensation solely because it was erroneously reported that he delivered the pizza after he was stabbed.
“I’m doing my best to catch up behind the mess that all the news stories made and explain that what they posted wasn’t true,” Lewis said, noting he is “bothered” that false information may have made him “famous.”
While Lewis is receiving international recognition from celebrities and social media sites, the attention he is receiving from friends at Boyce College and Sojourn Community Church, where is a member, is generating the most support for his recovery.
“Josh is always an upbeat young man, you can tell he has a great mind. He’s likeable, well-respected,” said Boyce Dean Dan DeWitt, who has visited Lewis in the hospital several times since the incident. “I’ve been thankful for all the Boyce students who have expressed their support of Josh. There was a small group of students huddled in the waiting room when I got there, and most of that small group stayed until 3 a.m. the first night he was in the hospital. We’ve had students there in the hospital literally around the clock, supporting him, supporting his family.”
“The support from Boyce has been fantastic,” said Terri Lewis, who called it a “great comfort” to receive care from DeWitt, Lewis’ classmates and local churches. She said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., who was traveling on Sunday, called the family to express his support.
“I did not realize at all how many people were willing to set aside time in their day to spend time with me,” said Josh Lewis. “It’s just been really overwhelming almost the amount of support from Christian communities I’ve had, coming here and praying with me and letting me know that they’re supporting me.”
Many of those students supporting him are also members at Sojourn, either involved in the college ministry or his community group. John Mike McGuire, a Boyce graduate and Lewis’ former dorm hall mate, was the first person at the hospital and has supported him throughout his hospital stay.
“Because of the strength of our community here at Sojourn, it’s not unusual to hear that someone from his CG was immediately there and has been by his side the entire time,” said Clif Roth, the pastor of groups and Connect at Sojourn Midtown. Roth and Josh Rothschild, a Southern Seminary Master of Divinity student and Sojourn’s deacon of college students, brought Lewis his favorite ice cream and talked about his new and unexpected platform.
“He’s a funny guy and made a few jokes. We talked a lot about his interactions with people and how it’s become a platform for him in a way he couldn’t even fathom or anticipate because of how viral this has gone. He talked about wanting to use this for God’s glory and to share the gospel with his coworkers,” Roth said, noting that Sojourn will record a video of Lewis sharing the gospel later this week.
Because his car was stolen and he needs reliable transportation for his job, Lewis’ church and employer are raising funds for a new car, as well as medical expenses. A GoFundMe account created by Mack Welsh, Lewis’ community group leader, has raised more than $4,000 since Monday. On May 6, Spinelli’s Downtown held an all-day fundraiser, designating 50 percent of its sales to benefit Lewis, and Norton Hospital confirmed that it has agreed to match all donations from that event.
Louisville Metro Police spokesperson Dwight Mitchell told Southern Seminary News that investigators have not located or identified the suspect, but described him as a black male around 6 feet tall who was wearing dark clothing at the time of the stabbing. The suspect left the scene in Lewis’ car, which is a black Jeep Cherokee with gold racing stripes and Michigan license plate number CDY6122. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call 502-574-LMPD.