Shaq donates home to family of 12-year-old paralyzed in shooting
Shaquille O’Neal has donated a home to an Atlanta, Ga., woman whose son was left paralyzed from the chest down after getting struck by a stray bullet while attending a high school football game in August.
Isaiah Payton, 12, was shot in the spine while attending a scrimmage on Aug. 17 between two high school teams. His mother, Allison Woods, has had to quit her job in order to learn how to care for her paralyzed son.
The family was living in a one-bedroom apartment that was inaccessible and otherwise ill-equipped for a person with a disability. Isaiah was unable to leave the hospital because of the family’s living situation.
O’Neal has been a longtime advocate against gun violence, and after hearing about the tragic circumstances of the family’s situation, not only donated a home but furnished it as well.
“I was watching the story and it’s just sad. It could have been any one of us,” O’Neal told WXIA-TV. “It could have been my son. It could’ve been your cousin and she was living in a one-bedroom house with her two boys so we found her a one-bedroom house in College Park. Nice area. I’m going to get her some ring cameras on me. We’re going to give her some furniture, TVs and pay her rent off for a year and help her get on her feet.”
Two members of Papa John’s board of directors, which O’Neal serves on, have joined the NBA legend’s efforts to help out the family. The City of Atlanta Fire Department is also helping the family by providing a budget for the year. The mayor of Atlanta has been involved in the process as well.
A 15-year-old was arrested earlier this week in connection with the shooting and has been charged with aggravated assault.