(KRON) — An 8-year-old boy is paralyzed after he was caught in the crossfire of a rolling gun battle on Interstate-580 in Oakland, according to investigators and family members.
Asa was riding in his family’s car on I-580 near the Harrison Street exit when gunmen in two other vehicles began shooting at each other on July 14, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Asa was struck by a stray bullet. “Bullet and bone fragments pierced … and some lodged in … the spinal column of his neck. Initially, we had no idea if our sweet boy would live,” his parents wrote on a GoFundMe page.
Immediately after the I-580 shooting, the boy was rushed to Oakland Children’s Hospital in grave condition. His parents said their son is a “fighter.”
“Two weeks later, Asa is not only alive, but he’s making us laugh, reading his favorite books and requesting songs by Imagine Dragons. His intellect, his spirit, and his love of life are very much intact,” the boy’s parents wrote.
Asa is a “soccer enthusiast, math wizard, and devoted brother,” his parents wrote on GoFundMe.
In the wake of senseless gun violence, his family members said they are feeling emotions of anger, gratitude, and grief. “His body is forever changed. At this point, he is experiencing complete paralysis below the neck. Never in a million years could we have predicted how (his) life – and all of our lives – would change so quickly,” his parents wrote.
The boy is facing a new reality, requiring a mechanical respirator, around-the-clock nursing care, and additional surgeries.
“We’re fiercely committed to doing everything we can to help (him) thrive which includes supporting his return to home life, school, and being the energetic, creative, and high-spirited 8-year-old he is,” his parents wrote.
To help the young victim transition back home from the hospital, his family is faced with more than $250,000 in expenses, according to the GoFundMe.
The two suspect vehicles involved in the July 14 shooting were a dark gray SUV and a maroon-colored SUV, CHP Lt. Slade Durham said. No arrests have been made. Anyone with information that could help the CHP identify suspects is asked to call the CHP Investigations Tipline at 707-917-4491.
Asa is the third child who has been either injured or killed by stray bullets on Bay Area freeways in recent years.
Jasper Wu, 1, was killed in the crossfire of a shooting between gang members on Interstate-880 in Oakland on Nov. 6, 2021.
Jasper’s mother’s car was caught in crossfire when a gang member in one vehicle opened fire on a rival gang member’s car, investigators said. Jasper was sleeping in his car seat when he was shot.
Eliyanah Crisostomo, 5, was riding in her family’s car on I-880 in Fremont when she was fatally shot by Sureno gang members the day before Easter, according to investigators. One bullet pierced through Eliyanah’s heart.
Following Eliyanah’s death in April, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price said, “There is no reason young children should die on our Bay Area freeways. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of the story contained the child’s name, but we have removed it out of respect for the family.