Woman paralyzed in downtown Mpls. shooting speaks out

Woman paralyzed in downtown Mpls. shooting speaks out

HOPKINS, Minn. -- A woman hit by a stray bullet and paralyzed near Pizza Luce in Minneapolis is speaking out for the first time since leaving the hospital.

Rikaya Wafford spent more than a month in the hospital after a stray bullet lodged in her spine on June 3rd. She was released from the hospital on July 7th, but she's now confined to a wheelchair and paralyzed from the waist down.

"I went down to the Gay 90s with a bunch of my friends and my family," said Wafford. "We started to go back to the car, and next thing we knew, we were just hearing gun shots and everybody was ducking, but I was frozen. Like I just couldn't even move."

Police say there have been no arrests in the shooting.

The bullet is still in her spine.

"There aren't plans to take it out or anything," said Wafford.

Wafford is choosing positivity despite the odds.

"If you get caught in that negativity, you're done for," she told a friend while out celebrating her sister's birthday at a pool party in Hopkins Saturday.

The road to recovery has been filled with support. A Go Fund Me page has raised more than $16,000 for Rikaya's medical expenses, and friends and family have stayed close.

"Because there were so many people around, I think it was easier to keep that smile on my face," said Wafford of her decision to stay positive despite the life changing paralysis. "I realize that basketball is not going to be the same and dancing and things like that...but you know, practice makes perfect, and I'm getting there, and I can't just stop living."

Wafford says she's asking the stranger who shot her to end the violence and come forward to police.

"You should know right from wrong," said Wafford. "You shouldn't be going around altering people's lives just because you have that option--you have a weapon to do so."

Anyone with information on who shot Rikaya Wafford is asked to call Minneapolis Police.

Wafford's father Ricky Wafford is planning a fundraiser yacht party in Stillwater on July 29th to help pay for his daughter's high medical costs. 

"We will be taking donations for wrist bands and T-shirts for #RikayaRising!!" he said.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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