Mass. Teen 'Permanently Paralyzed' After Friend Accidentally Shoots Him While Showing Off New Gun
A Massachusetts teen is paralyzed after he was accidentally shot by a friend who was showing off his new handgun.
According to a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for medical costs, equipment and housing, 19-year-old Jemil Evans was shot in the neck, with the bullet severing parts of his spinal cord.
"He is permanently paralyzed and will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life," the post states.
Evans had returned home to Woburn to visit his mom and friends after spending time with his father in Maine, according to the GoFundMe post.
Police said Evans was at the home of his 22-year-old friend Alec Augustino Braz on Saturday afternoon when he was shot.
"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 Department Chief Bob Rufo Jr. tells PEOPLE. "According to [Braz] 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."
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Rufo says Braz did not call 911 but instead chose to drive his friend to the hospital and initially blamed the shooting on a masked intruder.
"Basically, he said he heard a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot and he was in a bathroom at the time," he says. "He observed an unknown male wearing black pants, a black hooded sweatshirt, a red vest, a black mask and tight black gloves running through the kitchen."
Rufo says detectives had suspicions about the story from the onset.
"It was ascertained pretty quickly the original story was fictitious and the truth was finally told," he says.
Braz got his gun permit in April, Rufo says.
"To be issued a firearms license it has to come with the understanding that there is a tremendous degree of personal responsibility in firearm ownership not only in ownership, storage and handling but also in proficiency in handling and using the firearm," says Rufo."I think many people fail to realize how imperative that is."
Braz has been charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling and improper storage of a firearm.
He was released on bail and pled not guilty at an arraignment on Monday, Rufo says.
It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.