by: Alexa Ashwell Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A hospital room at Carolinas Medical Center has been Forrest King’s home for more than a month.
The walls are decorated with handmade "get well" cards. Near his bed are pictures of his two children. And by his side daily is his wife Alissa.
“You wake up and go about your day like you would normally do and tragedy happens to people and it just happened to me,” said King from his hospital bed.
Life forever changed for the family of four on Sept. 20.
King told Channel 9 he was getting into his truck to go to work that morning when he was approached by two armed men in their neighborhood in Grier Heights. King had parked his truck in his mother-in-law’s backyard, which is just down the street from his family’s home on Fannie Circle.
“I went to get in my truck and two men approached me with guns. They patted me down to rob me. One of them was opening the truck door and the one that was closet to me kind of lowered his gun. They were interested in the truck,” said King.
King said he thought he had a good opportunity to run, so he did.
“I dropped my keys thinking they would like the vehicle and I took off to run and they shot me in my back,” King said.
He said the two suspects left empty-handed. The father of two was unable to move his lower body but managed to call 911 using his cell phone.
What King didn’t realize was that his son witnessed the encounter.
The family said the 8-year-old had left their home to give his dad another hug goodbye and ran from the scene when he saw what happened.
“He was really shaken,” said King’s wife, Alissa.
First responders arrived to the neighborhood and rushed King to the hospital.
Doctors told King the bullet had damaged his spine.
“He just says you’re a paraplegic,” said King. “I was more focused on surviving. It was probably that night that it really sunk in. I kept trying to move my toes and feel something but I didn’t.”
The father has had numerous surgeries and procedures since the shooting, including on his spine, right lung and left arm.
The family is currently working with an organization known as Help Hope Live to raise funds to receive care at a rehab facility in Colorado. The campaign has raised more than $26,000.
Through it all, King has remained incredibly positive despite being the sole provider for his family and likely now bound to a wheelchair. He and his wife said their family is strong and will adjust.
“I told him (son) I can still throw the football with you and I’ll still be able to play basketball and do those things you’ll just be a little better than me,” said King. “There’s nothing I can change about what’s happening so I have to move forward.”
No arrests have been made in the case and no suspects have been identified. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police ask that anyone with information contact their department or report the information anonymously to Crime Stoppers.
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