Two weeks after being shot by a friend of 15 years during an apparent attempted murder-suicide, 37-year-old Daniel Moriarty continues to make strides in his recovery.
“I am doing exceptionally well. Everybody is saying I am doing good and I feel I’m at 150 percent,” the Ocean View resident told West Hawaii Today on Wednesday. “It’s looking like I will walk again at some point — but the extent of that is impossible to say.”
Though still unable to use his legs following the March 12 Ka’u shooting, Moriarty said he is now experiencing involuntary and voluntary movement of his lower extremities — a good sign. In the days after the shooting, it was feared Moriarty would be paralyzed from the waist down because one of the bullets appeared to have severed his spine.
“If I focus and really, really focus and tell my leg to move, then I will get little twitch out of my toe,” he said. “It’s definitely something.”
Moriarty — a single father of three — plans to spend a couple of weeks at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific on Oahu where he is currently receiving treatment after being transferred there from The Queen’s Medical Center on Tuesday.
“We’re setting a time of about two weeks before I can be well enough to go home to my family,” Moriarty said. “They are modifying the house. We’ve got people doing everything.”
He attributes his recovery thus far to a combination of “using every possible tool we can” including modern medicine and energy prayer. A request by Moriarty shortly after coming out of sedation on March 18 for the public on Sunday to send prayers and healing thoughts seems to have had a profound affect.
“My legs were twitching, moving and jumping. My back popped, and I felt my rib move back into place,” said Moriarty, who added that Sunday was the first time he was able to get outside to enjoy the air, sunshine, flowers and grass following the shooting. “It was the most intense thing that I have every felt in my life.”
On Wednesday, Moriarty expressed gratitude to those who took a moment to think about him on Sunday.
“Thank you for all the love that you sent — it has had an effect,” he said. “Just keep it up, if you want.”
While looking to “go forward at a 150-percent rate,” Moriarty also wanted to look back at the incident, to provide both clarification and insight into what occurred the evening of March 12 at his property near the intersection of Tiki Lane and Luau Drive in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision of Ka’u that left him injured and his longtime friend Cris Criswell dead.
“I know Cris loved me and would kill for me, but it’s just something was wrong. It’s unexplainable. It’s not rational. There’s nothing right about it,” he said. “Cris is not a bad man.”
Cris Criswell was identified by the Hawaii Police Department as Clyde Hawse Criswell, also known as Cris Criswell, of Ocean View. The two lived in separate dwellings on the same parcel.
Moriarty said the shooting occurred after he had a “heart-to-heart conversation” with Criswell about the 48-year-old’s hygiene and drinking.
“He was just letting himself go. He works for me, and, it was getting so bad that I couldn’t take him to the job site,” Moriarty said. “… It was no screaming match, no yelling. It was one of the better conversations I had with my friend. He was a friend of 15 years, we’d been working together, he helped raise my kids. There was a lot of love between us.”
Moriarty later noted the conversation had nothing to do with Criswell being fired or him no longer living on the same property. “I’d been meaner about it before,” Moriarty said. … “It was one of our better heart-to-heart conversations, but something snapped.”
While cooking dinner shortly after the conversation, Moriarty said Criswell entered his home and discharged a .45 caliber handgun at him. The shots narrowly missed a propane tank and his son, who was about five feet away. His daughter was in a loft in the home at the time.
“He had too much alcohol and something snapped in his brain and he just stepped in the door and shot me, and I fell to the floor, and, he shot me again. And then, he stepped outside and blew his head off,” Moriarty said, noting that his friend shouted “I can’t live with himself” before taking his own life.
Police, in a media statement, said Moriarty was shot twice before Criswell fatally shot himself. Officers responded about 7 p.m. March 12 to a reported shooting at the property.
On Wednesday, Moriarty and good friend Fortune Otter, a former girlfriend who has been by his side since last week, said nurses at the Oahu rehabilitation center while cleaning his injuries found six holes in his upper body. That does not include a hole in his neck from a tracheotomy required for breathing while he was intubated.
“That means he was actually shot three times,” said Otter. She said that he suffered single entry wounds to the back of his upper arm; near his spine on his back; and, apparently to his chest. “The third hole appears to have come from the front — it looks like an exit wound in his back, not (an exit wound) in his chest like the other one.”
Though Moriarty has a long road to recovery ahead of him, he said he is happy to be alive and holds no bad feelings toward Cris.
“I forgave him when I was still laying on the floor,” he told West Hawaii Today. “I knew in his right mind he would never do something like that and he could never see himself doing something like that.”
With medical and associated costs rising, a bank account has been established at HFS Federal Credit Union for those who would like to contribute. The account is under the name Brooke Moriarty.
Donation jars have also been placed in Ka’u restaurants and businesses for those wishing to contribute. In Naalehu, the jars can be found at Hana Hou Restaurant and Island Naturals Market. In Ocean View, the jars can be found at Rancho Ace Hardware, Ocean View Pizzaria, Kahuku Country Store, Replay, Ka’u Business Services, Coffee Grinds Restaurant, DJ’s Pizza and Bake Shop, Ocean View Auto Parts, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and Spin Zone Wash.