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Shaquille O'Neal provides a home for family of a paralyzed 12-year-old who was shot at a football game


Former NBA superstar says he's going to pay the rent for the first year and will furnish the home

Photo by Nick Agro/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Former NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal recently decided to provide a home for the family of a 12-year-old Atlanta boy who was shot during a football game. The boy, Isaiah Payton, was paralyzed from the chest down due to the incident.

The Hall of Famer found the home and said he is going to pay the rent for the first year and will furnish the home.

What are the details?

Isaiah was at a high school football game in August when he was shot in the spine. The shot paralyzed Isaiah from the chest down. Allison Woods, Isaiah's mother, was forced to quit her job in order to become her son's full-time caretaker.

The hospital refused to release the boy, who was living with his mother and brother in a one-bedroom apartment, to a home that could not accommodate his special needs.

O'Neal heard of the story and was compelled to help out by securing a home for the family. Two members of the Papa John's board of directors are also contributing money to the effort. O'Neal, who is also a member of the board of directors, serves as the company's brand ambassador.

"I reached out to the family because I wanted to see the son and I said he's not going to release the sign [sic] until she's able to move on the first floor," O'Neal said. "So, we found [Woods] a house. 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."

"It's just sad," he added. "It could have been anyone of us. It could have been my son. It could have 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."

O'Neal said he will also install security cameras at the home.

Did police make an arrest?

Authorities arrested a 15-year-old male in connection with the incident. He is being charged with aggravated assault.

"This was a reckless, heartless and cowardly act of violence that forever changed the life of a 12-year-old child and his family and deeply affected another juvenile," Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said in a statement.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the unnamed suspect may have been aiming for someone else when he struck the 12-year-old victim.

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