Burke's Battle Resonates With Washington

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Isaiah Washington, Grey's Anatomy star
Fans of Grey's Anatomy know all too well the anguish of Preston Burke after the renowned surgeon became a victim of senseless gun violence and is still struggling to regain his past precision.

What they may not know is that the story line hits particularly close to home for star Isaiah Washington, who plays Dr. Burke.

The 43-year-old actor recently told TV Guide about the personal memories triggered by the season-ending shooting of his character.

Washington was a victim of gun violence in his early years but is only now talking about it publicly. He tells the magazine: "I was young and dumb and one day I popped my mouth to the wrong person and got shot."

On an episode of Judge Hatchett, Washington told his story to a troubled teen in an effort to send him down the right path.

"Somebody tried to take my life. I have a bullet hole in my right hip from being shot," Washington said. "I thought I was smarter and faster and quicker than the person I was waiting for at the age of 19. I'm 43 and there was a time where I thought I'd never see 25."

Washington hopes his decision to come forward with his story will help this youngster and others choose a more positive path.

"He needed to see that we all have a choice in this world, that we can all change our destiny," Isaiah said.

Washington has made a career as a talented actor, but more impressively, he continues to leave an idelible mark as a human being dedicated to worthy causes and promoting the common good.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

[narrating] "At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other, it's usually a load of bull. So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we've chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt them. The people that are still with you at the end of the day, those are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need."

MEREDITH

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)