Freeway shooting leaves 8-year-old boy paralyzed

An 8-year-old boy has been left completely paralyzed below the neck after being struck by a stray bullet during a shooting on an Oakland freeway in July. The family of the young boy, named Asa, shared their heartbreaking story on GoFundMe, expressing their relief that he survived the incident but also acknowledging the profound implications of his new reality. Asa will now require a mechanical respirator to live, tube feeds for nutrition, and round-the-clock nursing care.

Asa was a passenger in the back seat of his family’s car on the evening of July 14 when a gun battle erupted between occupants of two vehicles traveling east on Interstate 580 near Harrison Street, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Tragically, the young boy became caught in the crossfire and was struck by a bullet fired by an individual in one of the cars. The bullet and bone fragments pierced his spinal column, leaving him in critical condition.

Asa’s family quickly pulled over to the right shoulder of the freeway near the Grand Avenue exit, and he was rushed to the hospital in grave condition. Initially treated at Highland Hospital, he was later transferred to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland for further care. The CHP has confirmed that no arrests have been made in connection with the shooting, and the incident remains under investigation.

Sadly, this is not the first time children have been injured or killed in freeway shootings in the Bay Area. Earlier this year, 5-year-old Eliyanah lost her life on Interstate 880 in Fremont while her family was en route to a birthday dinner in Milpitas. In another tragic incident in 2021, 23-month-old Jasper Wu was killed by another stray bullet while he was riding in his family’s car on I-880 in Oakland.

According to CHP officer Andrew Barclay, freeway shootings in California have seen a 17% decrease year-to-date compared to the same period last year. However, he could not provide specific data on whether shootings have decreased or increased in the Bay Area. Barclay did mention that the majority of freeway shootings in the Bay Area occur in Alameda County. He emphasized that most of these incidents are a result of targeted violence or road rage.