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Pierre Dyson is out on bail and on his way to a treatment program. His family and attorney are hopeful the District Attorney's office will reconsider a proposed deal that would send him to prison.
San Francisco police say he was armed and recovered a gun and ammunition.
"I was just thankful that I'm still here and the police did their job as far as not killing me," said Dyson.
Interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin said officers did what they had been training to do the last 18 months: they created time and space.
"The sanctity of human life above all, we would have stayed out here 'till tomorrow," said Chaplan.
Officers shot Dyson with rubber bullets.
"Hot burning," Dyson said. "It felt like I was shot with real guns."
Dyson showed ABC7 News where one round left a mark. He says they broke his ribs, injured his elbow and his face.
When asked why he didn't comply Dyson responded, "I was terrified they were going to kill me if I took my hands out of my pockets."
When Dyson was 15 years old he says he watched his brother Michael die.
"I think he was on that ground because he was crying out for help," said George Jurand, a program coordinator for the San Francisco Sheriff's Office.
Dyson calls Jurand a mentor.
"I've been blessed and now I really see it in life," he said.
Dyson's story isn't over, he's still facing felony charges including possession of a firearm by a felon.
"Prison would be a disaster," said his attorney Kleigh Hathaway. "And I think that he will come out worse than he is now."
"We believe these charges are highly appropriate considering the nature of the crime and the nature of the situation that led to his arrest," said San Francisco DA spokesperson Max Szabo.
Wherever he winds up, Dyson says he wants to help others.
He said, "Life is a test every hour. You have choices to make, just have to make the right decisions."