Jacob Tewalt was sitting outside his house in his car, talking with friends, when a gun held by a 14-year-old boy in the back seat went off.
The bullet shot through the driver’s seat and into Tewalt, 20. He suffered serious injuries to his spine, kidney and small intestine, stepfather Sean Boyll wrote as part of a GoFundMe campaign seeking money for ongoing expenses.
The campaign has raised $2,515. Tewalt’s family is seeking $50,000 for ongoing medical expenses and to help retrofit their home to accommodate his wheelchair, which he obtained earlier this month.
Tewalt is paralyzed from the waist down, and faces months of physical therapy as he works to regain control of his muscles as best he can.
“It was an emotionally hard day as he should be looking for a car instead,” Boyll wrote.
Kuna police received a call on Nov. 18 about an accidental shooting in a car parked in a neighborhood along Hubbard and Meridian roads.
When police arrived minutes later, they were told the driver had been shot. Tewalt, who was still in the car, told deputies he could not move.
Witnesses told police a 14-year-old boy in the seat behind the driver was holding the gun when it went off. Witnesses said they saw the same boy with the gun earlier that day.
Ada County deputies, under contract to provide police services in Kuna, found the 14-year-old walking by his house nearby. He was taken to the Kuna police station.
Deputies learned that Tewalt and four teenagers had been driving around Kuna, listening to music. Tewalt later parked in front of his house and talked with his friends. There was no evidence of alcohol or drug use, police said.
Police found a handgun on the floor of the car behind the driver’s seat.
The boy’s name was not released because he is a minor. He was charged with injuring another by careless handling and discharge of a firearm, exhibition or use of a deadly weapon, and possession of a weapon by a minor, all misdemeanors.