MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The father of a 15-year-old high school student who was wounded Wednesday night in a drive-by shooting says his son may never walk again because the bullet that struck him extensively damaged his spine.
Sammie Willis tells CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that his son, 15-year-old Aaron Willis, a 9th grade student at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, is in critical condition inside the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“My son is lying there helpless in a bed and he possibly may never walk again, all because of some silliness,” said Sammie Willie, who ironically is confined to a wheelchair because of his own medical problems.
With tears streaming down his face, he told D’Oench, “The bullet that went into him, and it was just one bullet, it did a lot of damage. It went in beside the kidney and it clipped off the tip of the heart and caused the heart to collapse. It ricocheted off a rib and hit the spine.”
“There’s a probability my son will never walk again because of the injury and all because three boys, three kids on bicycles were coming home and someone in a car pulls alongside them and fires a bullet in a drive-by shooting,” said Willis.
“I am hurt so deep and because of my cotton pickin’ conviction in what I believe in, it keeps me from going out there and retaliating. I should be out there finding the rascals who did it. I should be out there looking for those low class rascals who did it but I can’t,” Willis said. “It would make me as low class as they are.”
He had some words for the gunman.
“I would like them to look at themselves in the mirror every day and see what they did to my son,” he said.
“My son is a good kid,” he said. “He is an A and B student in school. He has whole life in front of him. But now his spine is cut.”
D’Oench also spoke with Aaron Willis’s mother, Katherine Veaton, at the Ryder Trauma Center. “He’s a real good kid, bless him. He’s a real good kid. My son doesn’t have any enemies out there,” Veaton said.
“I’m hurting right now,” she said. “I can’t do this. I can’t even answer,” she said, with tears also flowing down her face. She buried her head on a cousin’s shoulder for support.
That cousin, Cecili Williams, said, “Why did they shoot him in his back? He didn’t deserve it. He didn’t deserve it at all. It doesn’t make any sense. There are cowards out there.”
Williams said her cousin also suffered some damage to a lung.
The shooting happened about 8:30 p.m. near the intersection of Northwest 1st Avenue and 28th Street in the midtown area near Wynwood and just a few blocks from Midtown Shoppes.
Neighbor Luis Montes said, “I heard four shots being fired while I was inside my home. I came outside and I saw him outside on the ground after falling down. It sounded like bam, bam, bam, bam, four times.”
Police discovered a bicycle and at least one bullet casing at the scene.
“I heard gun shots and a car speed off,” said one unidentified witness. “And the boy told me to get the bike off his legs cause he couldn’t feel his legs. But I didn’t take the bike from him cause I was shaking with him cause I was scared.”
Cecili Williams said while her cousin can not move his legs, he is talking. She said he was not able to describe the gunman but he said he took off in a White Nissan Maxima.
Miami Police are looking for leads in this case.
If you can help them, call them or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
Remember, you can always remain anonymous and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.