Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has donated a home to an Atlanta woman whose 12-year-old son was shot at a football game and paralyzed from the chest down.
O’Neal told WXIA-TV that Isaiah Payton’s family was living in a one-bedroom apartment that wasn’t accessible for people with disabilities, but they now have a home in a good neighborhood. He said he is helping to furnish the home and will pay its rent for the next year.
“It’s just sad,” O’Neal said. “It could have been any one of us. It could have been my son. It could’ve been your cousin. She was living in a one-bedroom apartment with her two boys, so we found her a house in a nice area.”
Two members of the board of pizza chain Papa John’s are also contributing funds, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has shown support for the effort.
Payton was shot through the spine in August after a football scrimmage between two high schools. Damean Spear, 16, also was wounded and treated for minor injuries.
Payton’s mother, Allison Woods, has said relearning how to care for her son meant she had to leave her job, adding financial stress to her emotional turmoil.
A 15-year-old was arrested Wednesday in connection to the shooting. He is being charged with aggravated assault.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.