ST CHARLES, Mo. — It’s been almost a year since Jaylen Walker was shot in the back while delivering Amazon packages. The father of a 1-year-old was working two jobs at the time.
The bullet severed his spine and left him paralyzed. Doctors said he would never use his arms or legs again.
Now, 11 months later, he’s talking about the road to recovery.
“I thought this was the end for me, just crying, praying and worrying,” Walker said.
Walker, 22, said he went through bouts of deep depression and weighed almost 300 pounds after being shot on March 6, 2019.
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Walker was delivering Amazon packages in St. Charles. He admitted he parked in a spot that was reserved for those who are disabled. Prosecutors said 65-year-old Larry Thomlinson confronted Walker about parking in the spot and punched Walker in the face. The two struggled and then prosecutors said Thomlinson shot Walker in the back as he was running away.
Since then, Walker has made four trips to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. The hospital specializes in spinal cord injuries. It’s the same rehabilitation facility where Ballwin police officer Mike Flamion and Hazelwood police officer Craig Tudor were patients after being paralyzed in the line of duty.
“I love Craig [Hospital]. If there was a place I could rent and stay there forever, I would,” Walker said.
Initially after the injury, Walker could not use his hands and arms.
“I had to learn to hold my son all over again,” he said.
But, through the rehab process, Walker now has full function again in his upper body.
“I feel like my old self again. I can get on the floor and roll around with him and stuff,” he said.
Craig Hospital has challenged Walker with exercises, swimming and scuba diving.
Between trips to the Colorado hospital, Walker is majoring in business at Harris-Stowe State University. He recently put his studies into practice by launching a clothing line called “Different Breed.”
“I make these clothes for everyone. I want people to know that no one is the same, everyone is different,” he said.
One thing that has stood apart for Walker, is his faith.
Just days after the shooting, Walker told 5 On Your Side he forgave Thomlinson. Almost one year later, his feelings haven’t changed.
“I feel like everyone deserves forgiveness,” he said.
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Thomlinson is still in jail awaiting trial. A judge will likely set the trial date next week.
Walker has a GoFundMe page that still has not reached its goal.