Jemil Evans was accidentally shot in the neck while in his hometown of Woburn, Massachusetts, and is permanently paralyzed following the incident. Evans’ friend was showing him a new gun when it was accidentally discharged, shooting Evans in the neck and severing his spinal cord.
According to a GoFundMe set up by Rebecca Evans Andrade, Jemil Evans was left paralyzed after the shooting, when the bullet severed his C6 vertebrae and other parts of his spine. The boy will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
The GoFundMe page is looking to raise $25,000, and since its creation on Monday, June 14, the online fundraiser has made just under $10,000. Andrade wrote that the donations will “help with medical costs, equipment, and housing,” for Jemil Evans. The money will also help with “anything else Jemil may need to ensure he has the best quality of life possible, as he starts his new journey of recovery.”
The incident occurred after Evans had returned home from Maine, where he had been working and spending time with his father. He had traveled back to Woburn, Massachusetts to visit his mother and hometown friends.
Police reported that Evans had been visiting 22-year-old Alec Augustino Braz Saturday morning when his friend accidentally shot him with a new handgun. “Braz was showing him a newly acquired handgun and in the process, it was an unintentional discharge which struck the victim in the neck,” according to Woburn Police Department Chief Bob Rufo Jr.
Rufo continued, saying that “[Braz] thought he had unloaded it or made it safe. A very very poor decision that in a matter of seconds both lives tragically changed.” Braz was placed under arrest by Woburn Police.
Chief Rufo explained that Braz did not call 911, choosing instead to drive Jemil Evans to the hospital himself. In a preliminary report, Braz had initially claimed that a masked intruder had shot Evans.
“Basically, he said he heard a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot and he was in a bathroom at the time,” Rufo explained of Braz’s story. “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.”
It wasn’t long before investigators uncovered the truth, and according to Rufo, “it was ascertained pretty quickly [that] the original story was fictitious and the truth was finally told.” The incident brought attention to Braz’s new gun and the license to carry he had obtained in April.
Rufo explained that “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.” The police chief continued, saying that “I think many people fail to realize how imperative that is.”
Alec Augustino Braz had recently purchased the .40 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and had been showing it to Jemil Evans at the time it was discharged. Police have since confiscated the weapon, and investigators have suspended Braz’s license to carry.
He has been charged with assault and battery using a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a home, and improper storage of a firearm. It isn’t clear whether Braz has retained an attorney.
The shooter was released on bail Monday and pled not guilty during his arraignment. Jemil Evans’ current medical status is unknown, but the GoFundMe page claims he will survive, but his mobility is severely limited since the incident.