A 19-year-old football player at Marshall University in West Virginia is paralyzed after he was shot at a New Year's Eve party in Severn, Maryland, according to news reports.
Larry Aaron III is paralyzed from the waist down after someone opened fire at a party early Monday morning, his father, Larry Aaron Jr., told WBAL-TV. He was home in Columbia, Maryland, for his holiday break from school.
"I know they say you're not supposed to ask why, but you know, my son had everything going for him," his father, Larry Aaron Jr., told the station.
Aaron was shielding his girlfriend when he was hit, his father said.
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"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 said.
Anne Arundel County police responded about 1 a.m. and found a large party and a man with a gunshot wound to the back. He was rushed to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Police said a 17-year-old boy also was hurt. He left the party before police arrived and was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the arm, police said.
Doctors cannot operate on Aaron because the bullet is lodged in his spinal cord, his mother, Melissa Aaron, told WBAL-TV. He is struggling to cope with his life-changing injury, she said.
"He has his moments. He's been very calm, but he has had a few breakdowns, and that's to be expected," she said.
John "Doc" Holliday, the head football coach of Marshall University, sent his condolences to Aaron and his family.
"It is however with a heavy heart that we bring in this new year as I send my thoughts and prayers to Larry Aaron and his entire family during this difficult time. Your @HerdFB family is here for you. #HerdStrong," he wrote, referring to the Marshall Thundering Herd.
Officials at Marshall University, which is located in Huntington, West Virginia, did not immediately respond to inquiries.
The investigation is ongoing, and police are working to track down witnesses. Anyone who has any pictures or video taken at the party is asked to contact police.
Aaron's family is devastated, his parents said.
"It's just ridiculous that something like this has to happen. And what can we do? Nothing," Larry Aaron Jr. said.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call police at 410-222-6155.