Paralyzed shooting victim learns the truth

January 16, 2008 7:09:23 PM PST
A paralyzed 10-year-old Oakland boy is learning the truth tonight about his condition from his parents. He was shot by a stray bullet from a robbery that happened near the music studio where he was taking a piano lesson.

Christopher Rodriguez remains in fair condition at Oakland's Children's Hospital. His family told us that he is conscious, alert, and even plays video games. However, he is starting to ask his parents some very difficult questions.

"Every time I go in his room, I think about the future and all the possibilities and dreams I had for him. All those are going to have to be changed now," says Richard Rodriguez, victims father.

Richard Rodriguez says they're trying to break the news slowly to their son Christopher -- that he will likely never walk again.

"I went to his room the other day and he asked me 'daddy, why did i get shot in the back?' I told him 'I don't know why. I can't answer that.' and then he asked me 'was the person trying to hurt me, trying to kill me?' and I said 'no, I think it was an accident' and he said 'oh, I feel much better about that.' "

It's been six days since 10-year-old Christopher was shot while taking a piano lesson at a Piedmont Avenue music store. The shots came from a gunman robbing a nearby gas station.

The bullet punctured Christopher's kidney and spleen and then severed his spinal cord. He faces years of rehabilitation.

"We have physical therapists and occupational therapists to help him get back to life," says Jacob Neufeld, M.D., Children's Hospital of Oakland.

Meanwhile, Christopher's classmates at Crocker Highlands Elementary School held a bake sale to raise money for his family, who will now have to buy a special van and move to a single story home to accommodate Christopher's new life.

"That's why we wanted to come out and support the family. It could've happened to anybody. It was such a random accident," says Karon Rohan, parent.

Whether an accident or intentional act, Christopher's parents have little time to ponder what happened last week and can only wonder what lies ahead.

"There's what you see, what the doctor showed us and then you have hope. You always hope for a miracle, because otherwise you don't get through the rest of the day," says Jennifer Rodriguez, Christopher's mother.

Jared Adams, the suspect in Christopher shooting, is scheduled to appear in court on January 29 to enter a plea. Christopher's parents have no intention of appearing in court and will focus their time on their son's needs speaking out on gun violence in Oakland.


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