SAN ANTONIO - Fighting back tears, Adrianne House spoke with determination about the road ahead for her 21-year-old son, who was critically wounded in a drive-by attack early Sunday morning.
"When the bullet exited, it severed his spinal cord, so they're saying he will never be able to walk again," House said, while stifling sobs.
The heartbroken mother joined San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus Wednesday morning to plead for peace after seven shootings in east San Antonio in less than 72 hours.
House said her son Edward Hardeman is a college football player at Prairie View A&M who came home for the weekend and was giving a friend a ride home when his life nearly ended.
McManus said another car followed Hardeman away from a club and when they reached the Sunrise subdivision on the northeast side, shots rang out.
In addition to his spinal cord injury, House said jer son was shot in the side.
"It took out a kidney. It damaged his liver. He has a collapsed lung. The muscle between his chest and stomach was damaged," she said.
House said her son is determined to recover.
“The good part about this is that my son is strong, and he's not even upset with the person who shot him, but I am,” House said.
House said her son has been a powerful agent for positive change, working with community service organizations during his summer vacations.
"My son is not a 'gang banger.' My son is not a drug dealer. My son was living his life, and because of somebody being reckless and stupid, you [took] something away from him that he has to process for the rest of his life," House said.
House issued a plea for the shooter to confess.
“For the person who shot my son, all I'm asking is that you make your wrong into a right and turn yourself in. I know it's going to be hard, but you're lucky, because my son wants to spare your life. I, on the other hand, don't, but because he does and he's the victim, whatever his decision is, I will stand by him,” House said.
The attack is a particularly painful wound for House, because for more than two years, she has been a tireless community advocate, working with San Antonio Fighting Back, a non-profit organization involved in drug abuse and violence prevention.
Now, her plea is simple. She asked for 72 hours without anyone getting shot, and she wants everyone to join her in the fight to make a better community.
"You guys need to stop. Whatever the problem is, we have to figure something else out," House said. “This is senseless. We are losing a whole generation. Either they're going to go to jail, or they're going to be dead."
As for the police response, McManus said the department is devoting many hours to solving these crimes.
McManus said a lack of tips from witnesses is a big roadblock. He encouraged anyone who knows anything to share their information with police.
District 2 City Council Representative William Cruz Shaw said Friday night he will be out on the streets with the Group Violence Intervention team, working on solutions.
“I've been in office a couple of months, and this is my second news conference about gun violence. I could sit here all day and tell you enough is enough. It's enough about words. It's about action," Shaw said, speaking alongside McManus.
Shaw said the positive role models in the community are tired of fighting the senseless attacks.
“District 2 is a great community. It's a great district in the city, and we have this foolishness going on. We take five steps forward and take six steps back because of this crime,” Shaw said.
“Ms. House here is very active in our community, and now she has to go to the hospital and become a victim of gun violence in our community,” Shaw said.
Shaw also said now is the time for community members to come forward and share what they know about these shootings.
“When you see something, if you know something, you have to speak out. Call our council office if you're scared of retaliation. We need you. We are one community, and we can't do this without you,” Shaw said.
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