DENVER -- A victim of a deadly crime spree that stretched across Denver nearly two weeks ago may never walk again after a shooting left him paralyzed below the waist.
In just minutes, Thomas Young's life was forever changed.
"I went from being a regular 30-year-old guy ... athletic, riding a bike everywhere ... and now I can't feel anything below my waist," he said.
He was walking near the corner of East Colfax Avenue and North Lafayette Street on the night of Aug. 17 when a group of men robbed and shot him.
"I didn't get but two blocks away from home before these men approached me," Young said from his hospital bed at Denver Health Monday afternoon.
The suspects left him bleeding on the pavement. At first, he thought someone had lit a firecracker.
"It wasn't until a little bit later when I was checking myself, checking my body to see if I actually was hit. I felt my own blood," Young said. "And, you know, it's that weird, warm, wet sensation that I realized when I was shot."
The robbery and shooting were part of a larger crime spree that lasted almost two hours and stretched across Denver.
It ended with the shooting death of 18-year-old Shmuel Silverberg.
Denver police have arrested all five men accused of being involved in the crime spree. Their ages range from 18 to 21.
"I just want to get better. I want to beat this," Young said.
He has been recovering at Denver Health since the shooting. His doctors, he says, are preparing him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
"I'm just trying to keep a positive, a positive spin on things," he said.
He was walking near the corner of Lafayette and Colfax in Denver on the night of Aug. 17 when a group of men robbed and shot him.— Pattrik Perez (@PattrikPerez) August 30, 2021
His family, including his fiance, has been by his side at the hospital since the shooting. pic.twitter.com/e6PMoI8a5E
His family has been by his side throughout this ordeal, including his fiancé Derek.
"He's been my rock when I want to start crying," he said. "We've been through some stuff, and we're sticking it through. We're stuck together now."
As of Monday afternoon, a GoFundMe to help with his medical expenses had raised at least $23,000.
"It touches my heart to see these people. They've never met me and they may never meet me … just the outreach, it's amazing and it makes me cry," Young said.
But there's something else he wants: an apology from the suspects for the pain and challenges that lie ahead.
"I'm not necessarily angry or mad at any of them," he said. "I would just ask if they could find a way to apologize to me and my family and just realize what their actions have done."
Young will remain in the hospital until next week when he's expected to be transferred to a rehab facility. There, he'll learn how to dress, shower, etc., for about two months, he says, before returning to the life he had before the shooting.
"It totally sucks what happened. It’s absolutely terrible," he said. "But right now, I'm just trying to figure out what's the best way to just overcome whatever I'm dealing with."