Kingston man, 26, paralyzed in post-fireworks shooting

City police are still seeking leads in a July 5 shooting that left a 26-year-old man paralyzed from the waist down. Meanwhile, the victim’s mother has organized an “increase the peace” effort to promote non-violence among city youth.

According to KPD Lt. Thierry Croizer, the incident occurred just minutes after midnight on July 5, hours after the city’s fireworks celebration. Croizer said cops were dispatched for a report of shots fired and someone yelling for help. When officers arrived they discovered the victim, who police have not identified, in the driveway of 68 Prospect St. with a single gunshot wound to his lower back.

The victim was transported to HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley’s Broadway campus and later taken to Westchester Medical Center for further treatment. The victim’s mother, Lisa Royer, said the bullet is lodged in her son’s spine in a spot too risky for surgeons to remove. Royer, who spoke on the condition that her son’s name not be used because he remains hospitalized under an alias and his shooter remains at large, said he was paralyzed from the waist down.

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“He’s got a long road ahead of him,” said Royer.

Royer is a founding member and organizer for the local social justice group Rise Up Kingston. She has been prominent in the group’s anti-police brutality efforts since last year, when she filed a complaint against KPD school resource officers, alleging they roughed up her teenage daughter Aleesa Jordan in an incident near Kingston High School. (The officers were later found by the city’s police commission to have acted within department guidelines.)

Just days after the shooting, Royer and other members of Rise Up Kingston held an event on Prospect Street aimed at reducing violence among city youth. Royer said her son had been childhood friends with Jarius Lightfoot, who was shot and killed at age 16, just down the street from where Royer’s son fell wounded. Royer said her goal is to stop the cycles of violence and retaliation that have left too many Kingston kids dead or injured.

“I tell people, if you’re praying for me and my son, pray for the shooter and his mom too, because either of could be in that situation in this day and age,” said Royer. “I just want it to stop.”

Croizer, meanwhile, said the investigation into the shooting remains active and police are seeking the public’s help in developing additional leads. Croizer added the investigation had been hampered by uncooperative witnesses and an unwillingness on the part of people who might know something to step forward.

“We want to help the community but there are people out there who don’t like us, don’t trust us or they have this code that says don’t talk to the cops.”

Royer said she wants her son’s assailant brought to justice. But, she added, she understands people’s reluctance to assist the investigation. Royer referred to several allegations of police brutality and a persistent rumor — denied by police and prosecutors — that a KPD detective indirectly and inadvertently tipped off the killers of C.J. King Jr. In 2010, King was murdered by gang members who learned that he was a cooperating witness in a case against a fellow member of the Sex Money Murder Bloods set.

“There’s a just a lot of distrust out there” said Royer.  

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