RICHMOND, Va. -- On Friday, at the corner of East Marshall and North 12th Street in Richmond, was a birthday celebration like no other. A part that was for 12-year-old Jerome Johnson outside VCU Medical Center.
“It was definitely not how we expected to celebrate his 12th birthday," Jasmine Jackson, Jerome's Aunt, said. “Words can’t describe how good that made us feel. How good it made him to feel.”
On September 21, Jerome was shot five times at home in Henrico County.
“He woke up, normal day, went to school, went to football practice, in a split second his life has been turned upside down," Jackson said.
His aunt Jasmine Jackson takes care of him. She said the shooting was heartbreaking.
“It pains me to see the pain that he’s in, the frustration of him not being able to move his legs, from him not having an appetite to eat," Jackson said.
Thursday, dozens of family members, friends and former teachers came to support Jerome.
“I had Jerome in 4th grade," Ashley Song, a former teacher of Jerome, said. "To see him and the way he’s doing now, to hear about his progress and stuff from his aunt, it means a lot and I’m glad that I can be part of it all and that he’s on the road to recovery.”
Jackson said in the last week Jerome has showed progress in the hospital.
"Today they told us that we can move out of the ICU onto the regular pediatric floor. He still does not have function of his legs," Jackson said.
The family said his road to recovery won’t be an easy one.
"He would then have to go to an impatient rehabilitation center. So, he still won’t be able to come home and because of COVID, he still won’t be able to visit with his family and friends," Jackson added.
Jackson has faith Jerome will make a full recovery. She’s also hoping those responsible for his injuries will come forward.
"We’re begging whoever did this, you made a mistake, you shot the wrong person, but just turn yourself in," Jackson said.
The family has set up a Gofundme to help with medical expenses. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Henrico County Police.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked call Henrico Crime Stoppers 804-780-1000.