Teen brutally attacked by classmate, paralyzed from the neck down
JOPLIN, Miss. (KTUL) —
A young man from Fairland is fighting to get his life back. A vicious alleged attack from a classmate has left him mostly paralyzed from the neck down.
He’s a hardened retired state trooper of 30 years. But John Looper can’t help but let his emotions spill over talking about this.
“What could possibly drive the anger in him to do that to another person?” he asks.
The other person is his son, Owen.
“He’s a country kid,” says his father. “He loves his diesel truck and all the aspects of being in the country and living on a farm.”
That diesel truck led him to a vocational school and a future career as a diesel mechanic.
“Now, after about two weeks,” Looper says. “It’s starting to set it for him that none of this is really changing. So it’s difficult for him.”
Owen’s life changed two weeks ago.
“We believe that he was lured to another location on Friday, November 3rd to witness two other boys fighting,” Looper says. “This other boy took the advantage of coming up behind my son and picking him up off the ground and rolling over backwards with him and dropping him, basically, driving him into the ground on his head.”
The impact dislocated two vertebrae in Owen’s neck and paralyzed the 19-year-old from the neck down.
“This is one of the worst things a parent can have to endure with their child,” Looper says. “I mean, other than death.”
John’s emotions run the gamut.
“They go from the sorrow that you feel for what he’s endured, and what he has to look forward to for the rest of his life,” Looper says, searching for words. “To extreme anger and rage to the person who has done this to him.”
Owen has limited movement in his arms, and nothing else.
“We always hold out prayer for miracles,” John says of his son. “And I don’t expect anything less than great things in miracles.”
Owen is going to Denver Craig Hospital on Wednesday for 12 weeks of rehab. But his recovery, and lifetime of treatment, will be expensive. His family has started a fundraising site. You can find the link to that site by clicking here.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the attack.