Mother of UNO student, paralyzed in August shooting, calls on district attorney to try suspected shooter as adult

“I am fighting to have this case moved to adult court,” she said. “Five years is not enough for putting a man in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.”
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 11:54 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The mother of a 24-year-old shot and paralyzed from the waist down in an August armed robbery said staff at the office of Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams informed her the case against a juvenile, one of two males suspected in the shooting, was to be tried in juvenile court. Unless the decision is reversed, the juvenile could walk free in just a few years.

Noah, a UNO student studying naval engineering, was walking in his Lake Terrace neighborhood on the night of August 18 when a black car pulled up beside him. The passenger hopped out with a gun and demanded his phone and wallet.

He said he didn’t have his wallet on him but gave over his phone. That’s when he said the driver got out of the car as well.

“Call it a gut feeling, it just felt more aggressive when the driver got out,” he said. “They got really close, still pointed the guns at me, and I defended myself. I pulled a knife. I almost got it in the driver’s shoulder.”

He said he’s not sure whether one or both of the suspects fired, but he was shot twice. They sped off and left him for dead on the sidewalk, with the only help nearby coming from a Pinnacle Security officer who was in the area.

“I was most worried, honestly, about my mother. I wasn’t really worried about me,” Noah said. “My mom had lost a son before, so obviously I was worried about what would happen if she lost another in her life.”

“I just left it up to fate, and obviously fate decided that I still needed to be here to do something.”

One of the bullets shattered his rib, sending shards of bone shooting into his spinal cord. He was paralyzed from the waist down, crushing his dream of working in the shipyards after graduation.

“Obviously now that I’m in a wheelchair, I have to kind of rethink what I want to do in naval engineering,” Noah said. “I have to invest more of my energy just worried about getting dressed, doing the mundane things that someone else would not have to do.”

The outcome of the event has been life-altering for Noah, who said he feels, for now, that he’s become a burden on his mother.

“There’s a chance I may never walk again, and it’s pretty high based off what the doctors say,” he said. “It’s so immense the change that this has caused, that it’s hard to just put it into words.”

FOX 8 is not identifying Noah or his mother, because one of the suspects in the shooting remains at large. But the other, who Noah’s mother said was just 15 years old, was arrested.

She said she was informed by staff at the office of Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams that, right now, the plan is to try him in juvenile court. If the case is not moved to adult court, the juvenile would face a maximum sentence of juvenile life, meaning he would be released at the age of 21.

“I am fighting to have this case moved to adult court,” she said. “He has a life sentence because this person pulled a trigger. When he pulled that trigger, he made that choice. My son did not make that choice to end up in a wheelchair, that person put him in the wheelchair.”

FOX 8 reached out to Williams’ office through email and text multiple times but received no response. We also requested an interview with Williams, not to discuss this case specifically but to talk about the factors considered when moving a case to adult court, but we received no response.

Noah’s mother said Wednesday that staff at the Williams’ office had contacted her to set up a meeting for November 16. She said she hopes the outcome of that meeting will result in the case being moved to adult court.

“The harm caused to him is so egregious, that it needs to go to adult court where a judge will have more latitude,” she said.

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