‘I miss him’: Local teen paralyzed after shooting set on mission to keep his slain cousin’s memory alive

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — This year, we’ve all had to adjust to a new normal, but one Union County teenager spent this year adapting to a completely different life after gun violence shattered the world he knew.

Chrishaun Hough was left paralyzed from the chest down after a shooting last year.

Chrishaun and his cousin Malik Byrd were playing a game of pickup basketball at a church in Wadesboro on Jan. 20, 2020. Afterwards, the family believes someone who had a problem with Malik’s older brother followed the teens and drove up next to them.

“I seen the gun in the car. Then they just started shooting. It just happened so fast,” Chrishaun said.

Malik, a standout student athlete at Anson High School, was killed.

“It’s really like I lost a brother that day. He was my brother,” Chrishaun said.

And at just 15 year old, Chrishaun life was forever changed.

But a year later, no one has been arrested, and Chrishaun mother, Loretta Gaddy, wants answers for he son and nephew.

“Not let this just be a cold case, these boys need justice,” Gaddy said.

“He died for nothing, just nothing,” Chrishaun said. “I just want him to, you know, get his peace.”

While the wait for justice is frustrating, Chrishaun has made peace with being paralyzed.

“There’s nothing you can really do about it, so got to try to make it better,” he said. “I just have a really good look on things.”

This year, he relearned how to do everything, and has gotten used to depending on his arms to get around.

“He surprises us every day,” Gaddy said.

Simple things like getting a glass of water require so much more effort now. And as an honors student, he’s also keeping up with classes remotely.

Through it all, his motivation is Malik.

“I try to stay determined, cause, you know, I try to do it for my cousin,” Chrishaun said.

These days, Chrishaun finds most joy back on a basketball court. He joined a wheelchair league, the Rolling Hornets, which has also given him a community.

“I use basketball, that’s my way of escaping my problems,” he said. “It just gets me real happy.”

Chrishaun thought Malik’s journey would be as a college athlete. Now, he wants to follow that path through wheelchair basketball.

“He can’t do it, so I’m doing it now,” he said.

It isn’t easy to talk about the shooting, but Chrishaun plans to share his story as a mentor at the hospital, where he’ll help other people that were suddenly paralyzed like he was.

“Take your situation and make it better,” Chrishaun said. “Try to look for the bright stuff in things.”

And just like with everything else he does, he’ll do it with Malik in mind.

“I miss him, I miss him a lot,” he said.

The Wadesboro police chief said the case is still active, but they need the community to come forward with any information. The chief said they’ve spent countless hours on interviews and waiting on lab reports.

If anyone has any information on the murder of Malik Byrd, contact the Wadesboro Police Department.

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