A Marshall University football player was struck by a stray bullet at a New Year’s Eve party in Maryland and was left paralyzed front the waist down, according to his mother.
Multiple news outlets report redshirt freshman defensive tackle Larry Aaron III, 19, was one of two people shot at a crowded house party on Bastille Street in Severn at 1am on Monday.
Anne Arundel police spokesman Marc Limansky says it doesn’t appear Aaron was the intended target of the shooting.
Aaron’s father, Larry Aaron Jr, told WBAL reporter Kim Dacey that his son was wounded by a stray bullet protecting his girlfriend.
‘He was standing up against a wall, him and his girlfriend, and two guys got into an argument, and they just started shooting, and my son stepped in front of his girlfriend to shield her. And one of the bullets got him,’ he told the station.
The player’s mother, Melissa Aaron, told The Herald-Dispatch the bullet lodged in the Columbia native’s spine, leaving him with no feeling in his legs.
She says doctors cannot operate to remove the bullet, at the risk of doing more damage.
‘He is in good spirits and he’s talking with teammates,’ Mrs Aaron said of Larry. ‘I’m so proud of how the Marshall family sticks together.’
Police estimate there were more than 100 people at the house party. As of Wednesday afternoon, no suspects have been named in connection to the shooting.
Marshall University Head Football Coach John ‘Doc’ Holliday expressed support for Aaron on Twitter.
A 17-year-old also was shot in the arm at the party and was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Aaron’s family have launched a GoFundMe campaign hoping to raise $250,000 that would go towards his medical and living expenses, and eventually to create ‘a living environment which will accommodate Lawrence’s current and future conditions.’
As of Wednesday afternoon, under $11,000 has been raised.
As a student at Oakland Mills High School, Aaron was a standout football player, which helped pave his way to a full athletic scholarship to Marshall in West Virginia.
The 19-year-old played in eight games for the Thundering Herd this past season, making 13 tackles.