A young boy who became the second child victim of a freeway shooting in the East Bay in three months is now permanently paralyzed from the neck down, and his family is hoping to raise funds for his homecoming and ongoing care.
Eight-year-old Asa Luo was struck by gunfire a freeway shooting on I-580 in Oakland on July 14. According to CHP, shots were being exchanged by two suspect vehicles on the freeway, and Luo was struck while traveling in an uninvolved vehicle. As KTVU reports, no arrests have been reported in the case.
Luo was initially clinging to life, and he has since survived and has been awake, but bullet and bone fragments in his neck have left him paralyzed.
Now, Luo's parents, Melissa Neuwelt and Caesar Luo, have put out a plea for assistance on GoFundMe, seeking to raise $250,000 just to cover immediate medical expenses and renovations to their home in order to care for Asa on a permanent basis.
"His body is forever changed," the parents write. "At this point, he is experiencing complete paralysis below the neck. We are profoundly relieved that our boy is alive and very much himself, and we are also starting to understand the vast implications of his new reality. Moving forward, Asa will require a mechanical respirator to live, tube feeds for nutrition, and 24-hour, around-the-clock nursing care."
They add, "We’re fiercely committed to doing everything we can to help Asa thrive which includes supporting his return to home life, school, and being the energetic, creative, and high-spirited 8-year-old he is."
Home renovations alone, the couple says, are estimated to cost upwards of $150,000, and will include the installation of a hospital bed and a generator to keep the boy's ventilator going in case of power outages. And, they say, with nursing care, educational support, and more, the costs in the first year could run as high as $1 million.
"Never in a million years could we have predicted how Asa’s life — and all of our lives — would change so quickly, and completely," his parents write. "We are grieving, grateful and angry."
The family has asked not to be contacted by the media, but the GoFundMe campaign has so far raised $28,000 of a $250,000 goal.
This tragic shooting follows three months after the tragic death of five-year-old Eliyanah Crisostomo of Hayward in April, who was struck when her family's car was apparently shot at on I-880 in a possible case of mistaken identity. In November 2021, two-year-old Jasper Wu was killed on I-880 in Oakland in a similar crossfire scenario that has been linked to gang violence.
Across the Bay Area, freeway shootings have been on the rise, with 154 reported in 2022 — double the number that occurred in Los Angeles during that same year.