A Massachusetts teenager is now paralyzed after a friend unintentionally shot him while showing off a new gun, according to a fundraiser for the teen’s medical expenses.
Jemil Evans, 19, was shot at the home of his 22-year-old friend Alex Augustino Braz on Saturday, police in Woburn, Massachusetts, told People.
“Braz was showing him a newly acquired handgun and in the process it was an unintentional discharge which struck the victim in the neck,” Woburn Police Chief Bob Rufo Jr. told the magazine, saying Braz told authorities he thought he had “unloaded it or made it safe.”
“A very very poor decision that in a matter of seconds both lives tragically changed,” Rufo said.
Braz drove his friend to the hospital and said he had heard a gunshot while he was in the bathroom and then saw an unknown intruder dressed in black running through his home, Rufo said.
Police determined that was not true, he added.
Officers arrested Braz and charged him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and improper storage of a firearm, Mass Live reported. His license to carry, which he reportedly obtained in April, was immediately suspended.
A GoFundMe page seeking support for Evans’ medical costs, equipment and housing said the shooting occurred in the teen’s hometown of Woburn after he’d spent time with family in Maine.
“One of his friends was excited [to] show him his new gun as he just received his license to carry. This is the moment that tragically changed Jemil’s life forever,” the page states. “He was shot in the neck and the bullet severed his C6 and other parts of his spinal cord.”
Evans “is permanently paralyzed,” the page read, adding that he is expected to use a wheelchair “for the rest of his life.”
The fundraiser had earned more than $12,000 of its $25,000 goal by Tuesday night.
Rufo, the police chief, told People he believed that many people fail to understand there is a “tremendous degree of personal responsibility in firearm ownership” in terms of storage, handling and proficiency of use.
Braz’s attorney said Braz and Evans were best friends and that his client is devastated about the shooting, according to WHDH. Braz reportedly pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on Monday and was released on bail.
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