Three gunshots – neck, knee and hand –– wiped out the “promising” basketball career for a West Side teen.
Jermaine Winfield was used to racing up and down the basketball court at North Lawndale College Prep. The teen was a rising star and earned an athletic scholarship to Howard College in Big Spring, Tex.
But on June 28, 2011, Winfield said he apparently was “in the way.”
The now 20-year-old caught three bullets that forever changed his life.
“I’m paralyzed from the waist down. They were shooting at someone else. I was in the way; an innocent bystander,” Winfield told the Defender.
The 6 foot 4 inches tall had just about a week to go before heading back to school when the shooting occurred. Then, it was over in an instant.
“I was playing on a basketball scholarship. That’s what was taken from me,” he said.
Erica Davis, Winfield’s mother, said it’s devastating to live the after effects of “senseless gun violence.”
“Seeing Jermaine where he was playing for North Lawndale College Prep to playing college ball to now where his future was just stolen. He had a promising future,” said Davis.
It’s a day-to-day struggle getting Winfield in and out of the bed each day, up and down from the second floor of their home and in and out of the car to go to physical therapy, said the mother.
“He’s a big guy,” said Davis.
Davis said she didn’t realize how hard it was for people with disabilities to get around until Winfield had to go through it.
“It’s affected me and my family tremendously,” she said.
While Winfield’s shooting was one of hundreds that grappled the city last year, this year is proving to be no different.
Chicago has seen an uptick in gun violence in the last few weekends. Within the last seven days, nearly a dozen were felled by shootings and dozens wounded.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the department is just “treading water” and retaliatory shootings are happening at a faster pace than the police can stop them.