CHRIS GRANGER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNERobert Hoobler, a former New Orleans Police officer, stands in front of the apartment where Grammy-winning musician Lil' Wayne once lived in the Hollygrove area of New Orleans. It is the same home where Hoobler carried out a bloodied Lil' Wayne after he was shot when he was 12 years old. Hoobler saved Lil' Wayne's life by driving him to a nearby hospital.
Lil Wayne never would have made it had it not been for big Robert Hoobler.
AP PHOTONew Orleans native rapper Lil Wayne.
The celebrated New Orleans rapper would have bled to death on the floor of his mother's Hollygrove apartment the afternoon of Nov. 11, 1994, at just 12 years old, after accidentally shooting himself in the chest while playing with a 9 mm handgun.
If not for Hoobler, the New Orleans police officer who cradled the bleeding boy in the back of a squad car that day on the way to the hospital, the Grammy-winning superstar would never have made the cover of the current issue of Rolling Stone.
The shooting, part of the Lil Wayne lore, has been chronicled before, but not its details, nor the tale of the man who saved his life: a 6-foot, 7-inch, 330-pound officer who responded to the shooting while off-duty, as was his habit.