Family of 8-year-old Oakland freeway shooting victim says child is paralyzed

OAKLAND, Calif. — According to an online fundraising page, the family of an 8-year-old boy who was critically injured in a July freeway shooting in Oakland says the child — “a fighter,” in their words — is paralyzed from the neck down and will require intensive medical services for the rest of his life.

The child is described only by his first name, Asa, on the GoFundMe page, as a “soccer enthusiast, math wizard, and devoted brother and friend.” It is inscribed “Asa’s Family.”

According to the family’s account, the boy’s spinal column in his neck was pierced by bullet and bone fragments.

“Initially,” they write, “we had no idea if our sweet boy would survive.” But he is a fighter, and we have received and continue to receive the best medical care available.

“Two weeks later, Asa is not only alive, but he’s making us laugh by reading his favorite books and requesting Imagine Dragons songs.” His mind, spirit, and love of life are all very much intact.”

Asa’s parents listed their immediate expenses as they adjust to the child’s new life, such as renovating their home and purchasing a new vehicle to accommodate Asa’s wheelchair use, as well as devices and equipment to care for the boy’s medical needs as well as to help him live life as a child — with toys, video games, and the like.

“His body is forever changed,” wrote his family. “At this point, he is completely paralyzed below the neck.” We are deeply relieved that our boy is alive and well, and we are also beginning to comprehend the vast implications of his new reality.

“Asa will need a mechanical respirator to breathe, tube feeds for nutrition, and 24-hour, round-the-clock nursing care in the future.” We’re fiercely committed to doing everything we can to help Asa thrive, including assisting him with his return to home life, school, and being the energetic, creative, and high-spirited 8-year-old that he is.”

The boy is still in the hospital, and the family estimates that the expenses for his safe return home will exceed $250,000 in the coming months.

Even with the key systems and accessibility modifications that the family is researching, he will require ongoing support, including 24-hour nursing care, continuous physical and occupational therapy, mental health support, travel to medical centers that deal with severe spinal cord injury, and more, according to the narrative. According to estimates, Asa’s ongoing care could cost more than $1,000,000 in the first year alone.

“Never in a million years could we have predicted how Asa’s life — and all of our lives — would change so quickly and completely,” the family writes. We are sad, grateful, and angry. We hope you never have to experience such anguish. At the same time, we hope you will recognize (as we have) the exquisite gift of children’s resilience.”

By 2:15 p.m. Friday, the online fundraiser had received more than $400,000 in pledges toward its $500,000 goal. Anyone interested in donating can do so at

The family expressed heartfelt gratitude to those who contributed not only financially but also in other ways. “Your generosity has lifted our spirits and given us all strength in this time of profound tragedy and transformation,” the story says.

Around 6:20 p.m. on July 14, Asa was shot after gunfire erupted between two cars on eastbound Interstate 580 near Harrison Street. No one else in the car he was driving was hurt.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the shooting but had made no arrests or released any suspect descriptions as of Friday. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the California Highway Patrol at 707-917-4491.

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