DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver man remains in the hospital nearly three weeks after he was shot at random in the middle of a major crime spree across metro Denver.
The suspects in the incidents — five young men — are now facing charges for that crime spree, which left an 18-year-old student dead.
Thomas Young, 30, said he was out for a walk on the night of Aug. 15 when he rounded a corner in an alley nearby his home at Colfax Avenue and Lafayette Street.
“I was just out having a cigarette, walking around the block, and I noticed five guys started running over at me,” he said. “They started yelling at me, and brandished a couple of firearms in my face, and kicked me down to the ground.”
Young said the suspects demanded his phone, wallet and keys, before tearing off his shorts in the parking lot and looking through his pockets.
“They realized I didn’t have anything, and I was like, I’m not just going to lay down here, so I stood up trying to stop the attack, and that’s when one of them fired off a round,” he said.
Young said he fell to the ground and initially didn’t think the bullet had hit him.
“I didn’t think they actually had shot me, so I started checking myself to see, and when I reached over to this side, my hand came up and it was just covered in my blood,” Young said.
Young was taken to the hospital, where he’s remained ever since. He said the bullet went through his back, causing major damage to the nerves below his spinal cord.
“I’m in a wheelchair now,” he said. “Now, it’s just working with rehab on getting back to normal life in a wheelchair.”
His family has set up a fundraiser to help with medical costs. They will likely need to outfit his current or future home with ADA-accessible ramps, bathrooms and more.
Young has kept a positive attitude throughout and hopes to mentor others in similar traumatic incidents once he’s released from the hospital.
“My life has changed, but it’s not like it got worse, it’s just different,” he said. “I’m not angry at them, or angry at the world that it happened, I’m just taking it every single day as a new day, and trying to do the best that I can and accomplish the most that I can.”