Sahara Lowry’s worst fears came true when she received a call informing her that her daughter had been shot in the head.
HOUSTON – “It was a nightmare.”
This is every parent’s worst fear: getting a call from their child and hearing the words, “I got shot.”
This nightmare came true for Sahara Lowry on November 1, 2022.
Her daughter, Sydney Leday, called in the wee hours. She was hit in the head when bullets flew near a bowling alley in downtown Houston. Shots rang out as Houston police said a group of people were arguing over a dice game. Rapper Migos TakeOff was killed in a shootout.
Leday turned 24 two days before the shooting. She was with friends celebrating a personal milestone as well as Halloween. Her mother was the first thing she thought of when she got into the car and her friend drove to the hospital.
Mother’s point of view
Leday said that the argument between the dice-players quickly escalated, and she ran. Just then, gunshots rang out outside 810 Billiards and Bowling Alley. Leday said she fell to the ground and felt a burning sensation in the back of her head. She said she somehow made it down the escalator to a friend’s car, which took her to the hospital. Luckily, they were only 12 minutes away from Memorial Herman Hospital.
Leday remembers everything that happened, right down to calling her mom on the way to the hospital that night. She said she called just before the attack.
“I remember what happened because I was on my feet the whole time after I got shot in the head, I called my mom and told her what happened and told her to come (to the hospital),” she said.
This is where Lowry’s story began.
“Whenever she is not at home and she leaves, I constantly get up. I’m walking, and on that particular night, I just sat on the edge of the bed, and when the phone rang, I just knew it was something.” Lowry said. “So I had to call my mom, call my sisters, tell my husband, not that she was shot in the head, but we have to go.”
The nightmare for the family was just beginning. When they got to the hospital, the police made them wait outside in the cold and rain for seven hours to make sure everything was okay. They just wanted to know if their loved one was okay.
“We stood outside in the cold and rain under a canopy with the police because we couldn’t get in for about seven hours,” Lowry said. “Seven hours is a long time and the police tried to help as best they could, but they didn’t know about her situation because they were there with me and they had to guard the hospital… Not knowing who was shooting. … Not knowing if they were pursued to the hospital.”
Lowry said her daughter was being treated at the hospital under an alias to keep her safe. After a long wait, they were finally allowed to go check on her.
“She had a pipe (in her mouth). She looked dead to me,” Lowry said. “I’m a mom… just something I’ll never forget.”
She said Lyday woke up for the first time the next day. She wanted to leave the hospital, so the doctors gave her a sedative so she could recover.
Lowry’s healing had to start over. When she posted a GoFundMe to help with her daughter’s medical expenses, it was like opening an old wound. She told few people about what had happened, and when they saw what Leday was going through, “it was like starting all over again.”
“You know, my family, I didn’t share a lot of things with my family because there was so much going on, and as soon as I published GoFundMe, everything started all over again,” Lowery said.
“It came back again and again and we knew it was going to happen, but it’s like you get those emotions over and over again,” Leday said.
Lowry said taking care of her daughter was hard. Leday had nightmares. She was constantly nauseous and had no appetite. She had anxiety and started crying out of nowhere. She was afraid.
“As a mother, I protect her from TV. I keep her phone so she won’t be on social media. She doesn’t see pictures of that night. She doesn’t read all these comments,” Lowry said.
Lowry’s 7-year-old daughter started asking questions: where is her sissy?
“So I tell her, you know, she knew she was in the hospital, but I tell her that the sissy has a headache, but she’ll be fine,” Lowery said. “She knew something was going on, but she’s only 7 years old.”
Lady has always had big dreams. She received her associate’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and started her own jewelry business during the pandemic. She has always had a penchant for creativity.
“I know everything happens for a reason, so I still have hope for my future,” Leday said.
Lowry said she is still trying to close the incident. Apart from the hospital bills, her peace of mind is another priority.
“As a mother whose child was shot in this way and in the way it happened, I want answers. I want to hold accountable,” Lowry said.
Waverly Nolly is the attorney representing the family. He said there were no security measures at the private party.
“A private party like this is something that doesn’t happen all the time, so you should take more action than usual,” Nolly said. “It’s a private crowd and you know with a private crowd you won’t have that much control.”
Born and raised in Houston, the community that Leday grew up in now unites around her recovery. They are raising money to help pay her medical bills.