In August, Isaiah Payton was leaving a high school football game when a round of gunshots occurred. A stray bullet hit the 12-year-old in his spine, paralyzing him from the chest down. In order for Payton to be released from the hospital, his home has to be up to code for accommodating a person with a long-term disability. Having lived in a one-bedroom apartment, this wasn’t feasible for his family but after learning about his story, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal stepped in to purchase a home for the family in College Park, Atlanta, 11Alive reports.
“I was watching the story and it’s just sad,” O’Neal began. “It could have been any one of us. It could have been my son. It could’ve been your cousin and she was living in a one-bedroom house with her two boys so we found her a one-bedroom house in College Park.” Alongside a couple of board members from Papa John’s (which O’Neal holds a significant stake in) and the Atlanta City Fire Department, Payton’s mother, Allison Woods, will also receive assistance.
“I’m going to pay her rent for the year and I’m going to give her some furniture and it’s sad because her son is paralyzed from the chest down and no mother should have to go to that,” O’Neal said.
On Wednesday (Oct. 16), police arrested and charged a 15-year-old boy with aggravated assault linked to the shooting.