Boy paralyzed after Oakland freeway shooting

2 mins read

An 8-year-old boy is paralyzed after being caught in the crossfire of a gun battle on Interstate-580 in Oakland. 

According to the California Highway Patrol, on July 14, the young victim 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. 

“(He) 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.

After the shooting, the boy was rushed to Oakland Children’s Hospital in grave condition. 

Melissa Neuwelt and Caesar Luo said their son is a “fighter.”

“Two weeks later, (he) 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,” Neuwelt and Luo wrote.

Their son 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,” Neuwelt and Luo wrote.

The young victim is now required 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 in the July 14 shooting were a dark gray SUV and a maroon-colored SUV. 

No arrests have been made. 


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.

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