LUBBOCK, TX — Eighteen-year-old Aaron Assiter will be the first to tell you he shouldn’t be alive. But he is, and he said it’s for a very special purpose.
“I thought I was going to die, I really did,” Assiter said.
Just days after his 18th birthday, the high school senior was shot in the neck by a gang of four strangers as he was sitting in his car in the parking lot of the Drug Emporium in the early morning hours of August 25. Police said the suspects, who have now all been caught, were trying to rob him.
The bullet landed in his spinal cord, paralyzing him instantly. In shock, his foot hit the gas pedal, slamming his car into a nearby brick building. His phone flew from his lap to the floor of his car just out of reach.
After the crash, Assiter said his seatbelt seized up. So he said even if he hadn’t been paralyzed, he wouldn’t have been able to reach his phone.
“I sat there for probably 15 to 20 minutes watching the blood pour and gush from my neck, cover me in blood, cover the car in blood, and just stared at my phone, begging God to save me, someone to save me,” Assiter said.
He even tried banging his head on the car horn to try to get help, but no one could hear him. What happened next he said could only be described as a miracle.
“I see this bright light. By the time I see this light, it disappears in a split second, and I feel these hands grab me and shake me, shake me, shake me, shake me, violently. I wake up, and when I wake up, my phone that was on the floor board was in my hand, unlocked and on the dial screen,” Assiter said.
Assiter was able to call 911, and paramedics arrived quickly. He said they later told him they couldn’t believe he was able to call for help.
Both Assiter and his mother Melissa said it had to be divine intervention.
“I believe God was in the passenger seat of the car that night,” Aaron Assiter said.
“[It was] a miracle that they saved him … We have a long journey ahead of us, and the only way we’re going to get through it obviously is God. He is our hope,” Melissa Assiter said.
Another miracle, both Aaron and his mother said, is that he still has full use of his right hand and now has some sensations in his toes, although sometimes he still gets emotional about “losing his legs.”
On Monday, he’s having a major surgery in a hospital in Denver, Colorado, to help with some of the pain he still endures. One day, he added he hopes to be able to drive his Jeep again.
While Assiter didn’t know the people who shot him, he said he was hanging with the “wrong crowd” before the shooting, and getting involved in drugs and alcohol.
“I was going to wind up dead or in jail with the people that I was associated with, but I’m out of that now and I want to live my life for God,” Assiter said.
Now he’s turning his pain into a platform to help others. He said he wants to save other teens from the same “path of destruction” he was on, that’s now been set right.
“I believe that if I can tell this message and this story to one kid that was in the stuff that I was in, save him, I believe losing my legs, getting shot in the neck, all of it was worth it. I believe God saved me and put me here for a purpose,” Assiter said.
The family is also selling bracelets to help pay for his medical bills with Aaron’s favorite Bible verse Psalm 23:4, and to purchase one, you can email Melissa Assiter at email@example.com.