12-year-old shot outside high school football game may never walk again, mom says

A 12-year-old boy who was shot twice near a high school football stadium may never walk again, his mother told Channel 2 Action News.

Isaiah Payton and 16-year-old Damean Spear were injured when a fight led to gunfire outside Lakewood Stadium on Saturday night. Payton’s mother, Allison Wood, said her son’s dream of playing high school football will likely never come true.

“They ruined my baby’s whole life,” she told the news station. “The bullet went through his spine. My child is never going to be able to walk again. It’s just hard.”

George Washington Carver and Benjamin E. Mays high schools faced off in a scrimmage game at the stadium on Claire Street shortly before the shooting, AJC.com previously reported.

RELATED: 12- and 16-year-old shot after fight outside high school football game

Two people leaving the game got into a fight on Olive Street near the stadium, which led to the gunfire about 9:30 p.m., Atlanta police said. While the circumstances remain under investigation, the fight may have stemmed from a series of disputes that broke out inside the game.

Spear’s injuries were minor, and he was released from Atlanta Medical Center the same night, police said. However, Payton remains hospitalized, and his mother has been at his side at two hospitals since the shooting, Channel 2 reported.

“I ain’t really been able to get much rest, but I thank God he’s alive and breathing,” Wood said.

MORE: Carver High football schedule revised after weekend shooting outside stadium

Allison Wood
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

No arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified. Police said it’s unclear if Payton and Spear were involved in the fight or if they were bystanders who were struck by stray bullets. Payton’s mother said he was caught in the crossfire.

“You are at a kids’ game,” Wood said. “Why are you shooting anyway?”

Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields called the incident “very disturbing” in a statement released Monday.

“Regardless of whether the shooting happened inside an Atlanta Public Schools facility or later on a city street, we all have a solemn responsibility to care for our children and ensure to the best of our collective abilities that they are shielded from this kind of violence by providing the appropriate level of security,” she said.

ALSO: Atlanta police chief calls shooting near high school stadium ‘disturbing’

It’s unclear if any additional safety measures will be put into place at future sporting events. Atlanta Public Schools previously said it is deferring all questions about the shooting to Atlanta police. 

“We simply have to do better to identify potential issues at these events and work together to try to prevent them,” Shields said in the statement. “Our children deserve better.” 

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers Atlanta. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by calling 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.

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