LUBBOCK, Texas — Pernell Upshaw Jr., a Texas Tech University student, said Monday that he’s recovering after two individuals brutally attacked him at gunpoint last week, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury and unable to work or complete the semester.
Upshaw’s mother, Miranda Richard, said her son’s injuries were so severe that he couldn’t even identify the year when EMS transported from the Holly Apartments to the hospital. Doctors diagnosed him with a concussion but were unsure of whether or not he would make a full recovery.
“And of course, he had the scar from when he was hit in the face with the gun,” Richard told KLBK News.
However, this attack was the second time Upshaw has been targeted this month. A few weeks ago, someone robbed his apartment, taking his PlayStation 5 and some shoes. He said he believes whoever robbed him is responsible for the latest attack too.
“I didn’t really care about the material. I can get it back. I work hard for everything, but they didn’t have to assault me,” Upshaw said.
Upshaw owns a successful sneaker business, which is why he believes people targeted him. They stole the keys to his car, house, and sneaker shop. They also stole his phone and wallet. Not only did Upshaw lose his material belongings, but he also lost his sense of safety and his memory.
He said he’s had trouble sleeping and gets scared when people come up from behind him.
His aunt, Deidra Patterson, read a statement to KLBK News:
We’re very angry by this heinous act because my nephew is the embodiment of what every parent strives to do: raise their children to be successful, productive adults. We will not stand by and let this incident be ‘water under the bridge.’ The village and his family unit are standing up because as a community, we’re tired of it. Our children/citizens should not live in fear of success or having things in life due to someone wanting to take it and choosing not to take advantage of the opportunities to grow and succeed themselves. We’re angry because Pernell understood the assignment. He has a huge, loving heart for everyone, [is a] respectable, intelligent man and gives back… Now he has had to put his life/plans on hold to recover due to memory loss and physical injuries. The village in Lubbock has stood up in support of our family in our time of need. We all need to be vigilant of one another and everything around us. We’re calling on authorities to apply pressure on these criminals. So, when they’re feeling emboldened with such actions, we want them to know it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our community.”Statement from Deidra Patterson
Reggie Dial, the president of 100 Black Men of West Texas, said Upshaw recently won a prestigious scholarship.
“He was our first recipient of a new scholarship that we have through Texas Tech Athletic Department, along with the 100 Black Men of West Texas. He earned his scholarship because of the academic achievements and work that he does within the community,” Dial said.
After tracking the location of Upshaw’s phone and receiving information from the public, the family said they believe they now have enough information for police to make an arrest. However, the family said they have not been able to make contact with Lubbock Police Department since the incident happened and have called several times. Richard said she wants to know when the police will start investigating this crime.
The family also said the police have not yet interviewed Upshaw to get his version of events.
When asked about the progress of the case on Monday, Lubbock Police Department told KLBK News, “There are no updates at this time.”
Additionally, KLBK News reached out to LPD about the family’s comments and LPD responded:
“As with each case reported to the Lubbock Police Department, this case must go through a process before it is assigned to a detective. That process includes writing of the report, review and approval by a supervisor and on to the record’s department for approval there before making its way to an investigator’s desk. This process is in place to ensure all reports are written per state law. Once the approval by our records department occurs, it then goes on to additional review by the supervisor over the division (in this case Crimes Against Persons) and is then assigned to a detective. Once that assignment occurs, the detective will then review the case and begin the investigation accordingly, including interviewing victims and involved parties.”LPD Response
“The citizens of Lubbock are standing up and saying, ‘We’re not going to put up with this. We work too hard. We’re a loving community,'” Patterson said.
Upshaw must “put his life on hold” to heal from his injuries, as he is unable to process or recall new and old memories. After the incident, he went to class and took notes, but today, has no memory of doing so, his mother explained.
His loved ones said they refuse to stay silent.
“The day we are silent about the things that matter is the day that our lives begin to end,” Pastor Bill Stubblefield said. “We know that there is information out there that people can share and remain anonymous. We’re just asking that if this matters, if the lives of young men of color, young women of color, communities that are in crisis- if those lives matter- we’re asking people to not be silent.”
Because Upshaw is missing work and school, he’s unable to pay his bills, including rent for his store and apartment. He’s also lost his valuables, including his phone. If you’d like to donate to the GoFundMe his mother created, click here.