Young shooting victim may be paralyzed

January 11, 2008 7:11:39 PM PST
A 10-year-old boy may be paralyzed after being shot by a stray bullet while he was taking piano lessons.

Police say he was hit by a bullet fired during a robbery at a gas station at Pleasant Valley Avenue at Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. The child was inside the Harmony Road Music School on Piedmont.

The boy is expected to survive. A police sergeant tells ABC7 News that the boy's condition is of grave concern. A spokesperson says he still believes the boy may be paralyzed from the waist down. However, that comes from the police department. We have not heard from the hospital, and that is because the family has asked hospital officials not to discuss his condition.

Tejpal Singh was one of the two service station workers who police say was robbed at gunpoint by 24-year-old Jared Adams. As Adams was taking off with the money, Singh called 911.

Tejpal Singh: "I was calling 911, there was nobody picking up the phone, I was holding, then he saw me."

Lyanne Melendez: "Then what happened?"

Tejpal Singh: "Then he shooting me, two to three times. I just dropped on the ground and just laid on the ground."

The incident happened at Piedmont Avenue and Pleasant Valley Road in North Oakland. One of those shots pierced the wall of the Harmony Road Music School hitting the 10-year-old boy who was taking piano lessons. Three shots pierced his mother's car parked outside.

George Dewey was a witness.

"He was saying he was in pain. He was saying he wasn't able to feel his legs at that time," said Dewey.

Adams and a female inside the car were chased by police who rammed their car and then arrested the couple.

The gas station manager told us his other employee thought Adams was apparently drunk.

The 10-year-old is still in the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital, but doctors say he is out of danger. An aunt spent some time with the boy's parents.

The boy's mother issued this statement: "He is in fair condition. The family welcomes prayers and appreciates all the good wishes."

"They are in shock. Like anybody else, the last thing is your son goes in for a piano lesson and the next thing you know he's having emergency surgery at the hospital," said State Senate President Don Perata.

Perata came to visit the boy. Perata himself was a victim of a carjacking a few weeks ago at the very same corner where the chase ended.

"In terms of passing more legislation and stuff like that, we've probably gone as far as we can. The gun lobby is too strong in this country to ever ban handguns so what you have to do is decide Oakland ain't Montana. Let's see what we can do in Oakland," said Perata.

The suspect, Jared Adams, is in county jail. Police would not release a picture of Adams because they believe he may be linked to other robberies in the area, so they don't want to taint any pending investigation.