Shooting survivor was the 1st person his friend called after her attempted suicide. Now, she hopes to return the kindness.
HANCOCK — After Morgan Skidmore attempted suicide three years ago, Nick Carnevale played an important role in her recovery.
"He was always there when I needed someone," she said.
Now, Skidmore is working with her mother to throw a fundraiser Wednesday at M&M's Tap and Tavern for Carnevale. The Skidmores said the restaurant in New Lebanon will donate a portion of its sales between 5 and 10 p.m. to the Carnevale family, upended by the shooting.
The 19-year-old was shot twice in the head during a party at October Mountain State Forest in August. Three men — Kevin Nieves, 19, Luis Devalle-Rodriguez, 23, and Daqaun Douglas, 24 — have been charged in connection to the shooting.
According to one witness, Nieves had recently broken up with Nick's date to the party and was having a hard time moving past the breakup. Nick graduated from Mount Greylock High School in the spring.
Several more surgeries stand between Carnevale and his return home, his mother told The Eagle. He's been recovering in medical institutions in the Boston area.
Skidmore, now 18, said she's speaking out because she needs people to know what a good person Carnevale is, and that he didn't deserve this.
"He's the sweetest, most amazing kid that anyone will ever meet," she said.
Her mother, who works as a nurse, said, "I know what the medical bills can be."
"I hope as many people show up as possible," Morgan said. "I just want to raise as much money as possible for him and his family."
Another family friend is also organizing an event at Mazcots on Nov. 11 from noon to 9 p.m. Mazcots plans to donate a portion of sales, and courtside Celtics seats will get raffled off. Interested parties can email email@example.com.
A GoFundMe for Carnevale had raised more than $38,000 as of Saturday evening.
Nick's mother, Cara Carnevale, said they'll use the funds to modify their home to meet Nick's needs, to make sure he's safe and to pay medical bills. They'll have to drive regularly to Boston even after he's released from the hospital, she said, and so there are "a lot of unknowns" in the family's financial future.
As Morgan's mother, Melissa Skidmore, played a video shared to Facebook of Carnevale walking without a cane, just weeks after sustaining a traumatic brain injury in the shooting, Morgan said her friend has always been a strong, upbeat person.
"He doesn't look down, even when hard stuff is happening," she said, sitting at the dinner table in her Hancock home.
She said she's known Carnevale since third grade. She was always "like one of the guys," she said, and would hang out with Carnevale, go see movies with him and play in the woods.
In the months leading up to her attempted overdose, she said she got swept up in "girl drama." Carnevale was there for her at the time, to calm her down and give her rides so that she could avoid feuds during bus rides home.
"Nick was the first person I told when I got my phone back," she said. "He was always there for people, even when he didn't really know them."
"He's a good kid," her mother agreed.
She spent time in a crisis unit after the incident, and she said staff there confiscated her phone for a period to allow her some space.
When she got her phone back and called him, she said, he was eager to help.
"I wish I knew," she recalled him saying, as she started to cry. "He told me that he would be there for me throughout the whole process."
Growing up, Skidmore bounced around to different schools. But her friendship with Carnevale always endured.
If she hadn't been in Maine, she said, she'd have likely been by Carnevale's side at the party. Scrolling through Facebook the next morning and reading the news, she said, "I was a wreck."
"I couldn't even get out of bed," she said.
She said she'd been to parties atop October Mountain before, but they'd never turned violent.
She understands that fights happen, and she's been in some of her own — but "use your hands," she said, and not guns. She said she can't believe someone shot her friend "over something so stupid."
Amanda Drane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.
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