Ohio School Shooting Survivor Has Bullets in Cheek and Neck
Nick Walczak's mother said doctors are 'cautiously optimistic.'
March 1, 2012 — -- Ohio school shooting survivor Nick Walczak is partially paralyzed with bullets lodged in his cheek and neck, but doctors are "cautiously optimistic" that he will walk again, the teen's mother said today.
Walczak, 17, was one of five high school students shot in a rampage at Chardon High School on Monday by accused shooter T.J. Lane. Three students--Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr. and Daniel Parmertor--died from their wounds.
Another wounded student, Joy Rickers, has been released from the hospital. Walczak remains hospitalized.
Walczak's mother Holly Walczak told a news conference that she believes her son was shot four times: twice in the neck, through the arm and in the back.
Walczak's brother previously told ABC News that his brother had no feeling below his chest.
"He has a bullet still in his cheek and his neck," Holly Walczak said. "He's just getting feeling back in his legs. It's going to be a really slow process, they said. He's going to need spine therapy. The surgeon said they're cautiously optimistic."
Nick Walczak's went into spinal shock after the shooting, but doctor's hope he will be able to walk again.
"He's strong, he's brave and his age really makes a big difference. I know he can do it," his mother said.
She said his son has been conscious throughout the ordeal and knows that his friends have died.
"We really try not to talk about it at this point. It's a little too traumatic for him," she said. "It's kind of a blur, at this point."
Holly Walczak spoke at a news conference along with the families of Hewlin and Parmertor and mentioned the guilt she feels since her son survived the attack.
"The families that have had the losses...it's a guilty [feeling] for me because they lost and my son was saved. I think that's the hardest part for me. I feel for them every minute, every hour," she said.
The mom credits teacher Joseph Ricci for saving her son's life by dragging him into another room after he was shot and caring for him until paramedics arrived.
"He is the person that saved my son's life. He pulled him from the hallway into a room. He is forever our hero," Walczak said. "He's remarkable. I can't believe it. Nick would be the fourth victim, otherwise."
Speaking of her son's slain friends, Walczak said, "Danny, Russell and Demetrius--they're awesome young men and their lives were ended early, but it's not in vain. They left a mark on all of our lives and I just keep praying for them and for Nick."
Nick Walczak's brother Josh Walczak, 20, said that when he heard about the shooting and that his brother had been involved, he didn't know what to think.
"I saw him in the hospital and it was the worst day of my life," Josh Walczak said.
"He's my best friend. The kid is full of spirit. He's always in a good mood," he said of his brother. "Our relationship is going to get a million times stronger after this. I'll definitely be with him every step of the way from here on out."
Victim Demetrius Hewlin's mother Phyllis Ferguson also spoke and gave an update on her son.
"They took him this morning five minutes to eight to take his organs, so I'm having a hard time," Ferguson said as she choked back tears. "This was the last time I got to see him before they do what they do to him."
Ferguson said that one of the recipients of Hewlin's organs would be a child who was in the pediatric unit and only had a few days to live without a transplant. She was proud that her son would be able to save lives with his own, as he had wanted.
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