For more than two months, 12-year-old Isaiah Payton has been hospitalized after being shot by a stray bullet and paralyzed from the chest down.
On Monday, he was cleared to leave, and he’s trading his room at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite for a new home gifted to his family by Shaquille O’Neal, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Payton wasn’t able to go home previously since his family’s old apartment couldn’t accommodate the child, who may never be able to walk again. The retired NBA star stepped in after hearing the boy’s story, offering to move the family to a one-story home in Clayton County near College Park and pay their rent for a year, Channel 2 reported.
The Sylvan Hills Middle School student was one of two youths shot Aug. 17 when at least two people started firing at each other outside Lakewood Stadium in southeast Atlanta, AJC.com previously reported.
The other victim, 15-year-old Damean Spear, was treated for his injuries and released. Atlanta police said they don’t believe Payton and Spear were the intended targets of the shooting.
Police previously arrested a 15-year-old in the case, but authorities are still searching for the person he was shooting at that night. He hasn’t been identified since he is being charged as a juvenile.
Payton’s mother, Allison Wood, told Channel 2 on Monday that it’s been a struggle for the child to adjust to his new reality, but they’re appreciative of the support.
“It’s been rough, but at the end of the day, it’s a blessing to just have your child still here,” she said.
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 placed a billboard on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive offering the cash reward. A second sign is going up on Hank Aaron Drive.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477 or online at www.StopCrimeATL.com. Tips can be sent anonymously.
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