A former college basketball player is struggling to learn how to walk again after being shot in the neck at a costume party days before Halloween in Long Beach last year.
Jasmine Johnson, 28, was among nine people wounded in the shooting that also left three men dead Oct. 29. The Inglewood resident says she was part of a group that had gathered for a birthday party at the home in the 2700 block of East Seventh Street.
Police have said at least one gunman fired from an alley behind the home and fled. The case remains unsolved; earlier this month investigators released new surveillance video of vehicles connected to the gunfire in hopes of generating new leads.
Johnson believes she was one of the first people struck, because she could still hear shots ringing out when she regained consciousness.
“All of a sudden I was on the ground, so I’m wondering if I was hit with a rock,” she told KTLA Thursday. “But then as my head slowly begun to stop spinning, I could hear people screaming and people running, and I could see blood.”
She says it was moments later that she realized she’d been shot in the neck and paralyzed.
“In addition to realizing I was paralyzed, I also realized I could die,” Johnson said. “I worried about that more than being paralyzed.”
Johnson has lost the use of her legs and uses a wheelchair, but she says she feels very fortunate to still have use of her arms and upper body.
“I’m actually really lucky, just because I was shot in the neck,” she said. “I know a lot of people who have neck injuries tend to become quadriplegics rather than paraplegics.”
Johnson is an avid athlete who formerly played NCAA basketball for Eastern Nazarene College in Massachusetts.
She’s fiercely optimistic and determined to reach her goal of walking again. To achieve it, she works out at home every day and attends costly therapy sessions three times a week in Westwood.
“I’m just going to continue to celebrate the small victories, and I’m going to stay patient with myself and not be hard on myself,” she said. “I’m going to keep on going until I’m able to walk independently.”
Johnson has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for her ongoing therapy and recovery.