A 12-year-old boy left paralyzed from the chest down after gunfire erupted outside a high school football game is in good spirits, but he still has some rough days, his mother said.
Speaking with Channel 2 Action News outside the hospital where Isaiah Payton was set to undergo another surgery Thursday, Allison Wood said she has faith her child will walk again.
“I believe in miracles,” Wood said, “and God — he is a powerful man.”
The Sylvan Hills Middle School student was one of two youths shot on Aug. 17 when at least two people started shooting at each other outside Lakewood Stadium in southeast Atlanta.
The other victim, 15-year-old Damean Spear, was treated for his injuries and released. Police do not believe Payton and Spear were the intended targets of the shooting.
On Wednesday, Atlanta police announced the arrest of a 15-year-old in the case, but authorities are still searching for the person he was shooting at.
Wood said her son was supposed to be released from the hospital Thursday before doctors informed him he would need another surgery.
The news was disappointing for the 12-year-old, who hoped to get out in time to watch his middle school football team play Saturday after his teammates promised him a win.
“He said, ‘Mama, they’re playing for me. They said this one’s for me,’” Wood told the news station.
While she’s frustrated about what happened to her son, Wood said she’s just grateful that Payton is still here.
“He has his moments where he gets upset,” she said, adding that her son is still struggling with the loss of his lower limbs.
But Wood said she’s trying to keep her son’s spirits up by reminding him there’s a reason he survived.
“(God) has something that he really wants you to do,” she told him. “He didn’t keep you here for no reason.”
Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of additional suspects in the August shooting.
On Oct. 7, Atlanta police put a billboard on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive offering the cash reward. A second sign is going up on Hank Aaron Drive in the hope of catching the other shooter.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.
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