Larry Thomlison, the 70-year-old man who shot and paralyzed an Amazon driver for parking in a disabled parking spot at a Target in St. Charles, Missouri, has been convicted of first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Thomlison shot Jaylen Walker in the back on March 5, 2019 and paralyzed him from the waist down.
Walker, who was 21 years old at that time, had parked his Amazon delivery van in a disability-accessible parking spot behind the store while talking with another delivery driver. Thomlison, who was driving a car with a disabled permit placard, noticed the violation and took a photo of the Amazon van. He then then confronted Walker about the parking spot and tried to take photos of him.
A fight ensued between the two as Walker tried to stop Thomlison from taking photos. The 70-year-old man responded with a punch after Walker pushed his hand away. As the two men fell to the ground while tussling, Thomlison pulled out his gun.
“He fell to the ground, and I started to run, and I looked back, and he was fumbling for a gun on his hip. Right, when I turned the corner, I was shot,” Walker told KMOV4. “When he pulled the gun out, my eyes were just amazed. I tried to run in between two cars. He had a nice aim and hit me right in the spine.”
Walker, who spent several months in the hospital after the shooting, still has bullets in his spine. Trying to turn his negative experience into something positive, Walker is now training for the 2024 Paralympics.
“I played college basketball. I also played numerous sports in High School, so I was always competitive,” he told KMOV4. “I look at this like a second chance. I wasn’t able to make the Olympics standing up, so this is my second chance.”
Walker said he has forgiven Thomlison.
“I pray for him every day, just like I pray for me to recover every day,” he said.
Thomlison will be sentenced on May 1.
“He showed clear reckless disregard for life,” St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said according the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Any responsible gun owner will tell you this is not OK.”